angle-left Ministry for Foreign Affairs 2019 budget proposal
Press releases, 9.8.2018

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 2019 budget proposal

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ 2019 budget proposal for its administrative branch totals EUR 1,131 million.

Finland’s foreign and security policy aims at strengthening the country's international position, securing Finland's independence and territorial integrity, improving the security and wellbeing of people in Finland, and ensuring that Finnish society functions efficiently. Finland promotes the rules-based international system, sustainable development and international stability, peace, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and equality. The operational priorities of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are the Arctic regions, Baltic security, strengthening of cooperation between Finland and Sweden, transatlantic cooperation, and mediation.

Major changes occurring in the international operating environment not only offer Finland new opportunities but also present serious concerns.

The altered operating environment is characterised by rapid and unpredictable changes. The European Union is Finland’s primary foreign and security policy context and an important security community. The activities of the EU are being shaped by the United Kingdom’s EU withdrawal process and also by the Union's efforts to enhance its own efficiency and effectiveness. Migration and the threat of terrorism and radicalisation increase expectations about the EU’s ability to act. The altered operating environment is characterised by increase in the use of hybrid methods for influencing opinions. The security situation has weakened in Europe and in the Baltic Sea region. Russia’s actions in Ukraine have changed the security policy environment. The policies and role of the United States are still evolving and include a number of open questions. China and Russia are trying to expand their respective influence. The future development of the Eastern European Neighbourhood is unclear in many ways, and the situation in the countries in the EU's Southern Neighbourhood remains unstable. The political and economic significance of Africa for Europe and Finland is growing. Changes in the operating environment are prompting more contact and cooperation among the Nordic countries, especially between Finland and Sweden, and enhancing transatlantic cooperation.

Sustainable development is integral to Finland's foreign policy overall, and coordination will be improved between all administrative branches. In international cooperation, the experiences gained in the course of the implementation of Society's Commitment to Sustainable Development and related practices will be emphasised. The implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change will be furthered, among other things by taking part in international cooperation to mitigate climate change and to promote adaptation.  The budget for 2019 promotes a carbon-neutral and resource-wise globe, innovations relating to sustainable development and, in accordance with Finland's Development Policy Programme, food security, access to water and energy, and sustainable use of natural resources.

Operating expenses

A total of EUR 222.0 million is proposed for the operating expenses of the Foreign Service.

Effective bilateral and multilateral diplomacy at various levels, based on solid expertise and compact networks, is an indispensable tool of the Foreign Service for getting its views heard.

 The rapidly changing environment requires that the Foreign Service is capable of effective anticipation, monitoring, analysis, information distribution and flexible use of resources.

 Strengthening Finland's crisis resilience and that of the Foreign Service is of key importance.

The aim of the Foreign Service is an EU that concentrates on growth and security, focusing on deepening the single market, promoting free trade, strengthening the EU’s external action and defence cooperation, and managing migration.

The stability and economic potential of the Arctic region will be promoted in cooperation with the other Arctic States. The Foreign Service will continue to actively influence the shaping of the European Union's common policy on Russia and, more widely, the formulation of its Eastern Neighbourhood policy. Mediation and dialogues in foreign and security policy will be accorded high priority and participation in conflict resolution and in the rebuilding of societies will be continued through crisis management, peacebuilding and development cooperation.

Team Finland's communications and practical export promotion expertise will be developed in collaboration with the Business Finland organisation.

The consular services offered by the Foreign Ministry will be further developed with due regard to the upcoming amendments to the Consular Services Act and the needs of Finnish missions abroad. It will also be ensured that the services provided by the Foreign Ministry give a positive signal to international experts considering living in Finland.

One of Finland's priorities during the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2018–2019 will be strengthening of Europe’s system for the protection of human rights and the rule of law. The opportunities offered by Finland's forthcoming EU Presidency in 2019 will be used fully to strengthen the EU's ability to act and to reinforce its global role.

Crisis management

The focus areas of Finland’s international crisis management are Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, but Finland also participates in operations in Kosovo, the Mediterranean region and Africa. In 2019, the number of personnel hired for military and civilian crisis management tasks is expected to be approximately 500.

A total of EUR 53.1 million is proposed for the maintenance costs of Finnish contingents assigned to crisis management operations. The biggest operations include the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon, the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, and the training mission in Iraq.

It is proposed that EUR 17.5 million be allocated for the participation of civilian personnel in crisis management, of which EUR 700,000 would be set aside for mediation. Finland participates in civilian crisis management mainly through EU operations.

Development cooperation

An estimated EUR 994.4 million will be allocated for the Government’s development cooperation expenditure in 2019; according to current forecasts, this corresponds to approximately 0.41 per cent of gross national income. A total of EUR 589.5 million is proposed for the ODA administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In addition to the exclusive ODA budget item administered by the Foreign Ministry, support will be continued in the form of development policy investments. EUR 130.0 million is proposed for development policy investments. These funds will also be used for financing climate actions in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The budget proposal includes EUR 10.0 million to increase the share capital of the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund). The Government’s long-term goal is to raise the financing for development to 0.7 per cent of gross national income, in accordance with the UN’s objective.

In development cooperation, the focus will be on the priority areas of the Government report: women and girls; developing countries’ economies and sustainable jobs; democratic and well-functioning societies; sustainable availability of water and energy, and food security. Finland will pay special attention to the rights of girls and women, including reproductive health. Finland will focus on Africa as a region.

Finland’s development policy and cooperation are based on implementation of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development outside Finland. This will be achieved by supporting developing countries in the attainment of sustainable development goals and by promoting changes needed in the global operating environment.

Other appropriations

Due to the challenges relating to the international political situation and the cooperation between the EU and Russia, it is proposed that the appropriation assigned for cooperation in the Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic regions be increased to EUR 3.4 million. The appropriation would help promote stability, economic cooperation and climate action, including reduction of the use of black carbon, in the neighbouring areas.

An allocation of EUR 78.1 million is proposed for membership fees and contributions. Finnish contributions to the UN account for the bulk of this appropriation.

It is estimated that the administrative branch of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will accrue EUR 38.5 million in revenues not included in the Ministry’s operating expenses. The revenue sources include rental income from cultural and academic institutes, visa processing fees, proceeds from the sale of property, and refunds of membership fees and contributions to international organisations and of development assistance.

Inquiries: Katja Bordi, Head of Financial Planning, tel. +358 295 351 284; questions concerning development cooperation: Lotta Karlsson, Director, tel. +358 295 351 932; questions concerning Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic cooperation: Sannamaaria Vanamo, Deputy Director General, tel. +358 295 351 529.

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