Three families to Finland from al-Hol camp via Turkey
Three families who have escaped from the al-Hol camp have arrived from Turkey to Finland this afternoon. Children and women were interned in the al-Hol camp in Syria which they left in the spring. The families’ children are under ten years of age. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has consistently recommended that no one try to leave the camp in the war zone on their own.
Agreement extended between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Emergency Response Centre Agency – Foreign Ministry’s Consular Service Centre assists travellers in emergencies
In April, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Emergency Response Centre Agency signed an agreement, according to which the Emergency Response Centre Agency will continue to provide the Foreign Ministry’s round-the-clock services for Finnish citizens. Based on an agreement between the Ministry and the Emergency Response Centre Agency, the Agency has been responsible for the Ministry’s 24/7 consular services for Finnish citizens in difficulties abroad since 1 August 2018. The function is a part of the Foreign Ministry’s services for travellers as provided for in the Consular Services Act and the Security Strategy for Society.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to attend video conference of EU foreign ministers on Middle East and North Africa
EU foreign affairs ministers will meet at an informal video conference on Friday 15 May. Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will represent Finland at the meeting which will focus on the wider Middle East and North Africa and on the Middle East peace process.
Finland supports IAEA efforts to advance coronavirus testing worldwide
With support from Finland, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will provide testing equipment needed in detecting the coronavirus to the IAEA member states that have requested support. The fight against the coronavirus pandemic requires extensive testing worldwide. Support from the IAEA is helping to increase testing capacity in the countries most in need.
Elina Ravantti appointed Director General of Communications at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
On 7 May, the Government appointed Elina Ravantti as Director General of Communications at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She will take up her duties on 15 June 2020 and the term of office will end on 28 February 2025. Ravantti is currently Head of Yle Journalism Academy.
Finland to enhance Europeans’ digital skills – Elements of AI online course to be launched in EU countries
Finland will make the Elements of AI online course available to EU citizens in 2020–2021. The objective is to train one per cent of EU citizens in the basics of artificial intelligence, thereby strengthening digital competence within the EU. The course will be published first in Latvia on 6 May 2020.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to attend informal video conference of EU foreign ministers
EU foreign ministers will hold an informal video conference on Wednesday 22 April. Finland will be represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The main topics on the agenda will be Ukraine and the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood countries. Additionally, ministers will continue discussion on the coronavirus situation.
Development Policy Committee: A record number of people to need humanitarian assistance due to coronavirus
In an analysis published on Tuesday 21 April 2020, the Development Policy Committee estimates that coronavirus affects the most vulnerable people in the world and can lead to record levels in the need for humanitarian assistance. The Development Policy Committee is an advisory body representing the parliamentary parties and society at large.
Finland's development cooperation disbursements in 2019 at EU average level
Finland contributed EUR 1,006 million to development cooperation and, calculated as a proportion of gross national income (GNI), was the ninth largest donor among the EU Member States, representing the EU average. In relation to the previous year, Finland’s development cooperation expenditure rose in real terms by 18.2 per cent, which is more than in any other Member of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC).
Finland increases humanitarian assistance as the coronavirus pandemic escalates
Finland provides humanitarian assistance to help organisations in the field to respond to changing and abrupt needs more efficiently. Preventing the spread of coronavirus requires support and timely action also in refugee camps and crisis areas.
Advisory Board for Human Rights appointed
On 8 April 2020, the Government re-appointed the Advisory Board for International Human Rights, operating under the administration of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Its task is to follow international human rights questions and to issue statements on related matters that are of fundamental importance.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to participate in informal video conference of EU foreign ministers
EU foreign ministers will hold an informal video conference again on 3 April 2020. Finland will be represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The main topic on the agenda will be the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
Minister Skinnari to lead a consultative group to support foreign trade
A consultative group on trade policy, led by Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari, will be set up to work out solutions to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic for Finnish foreign trade both with third countries and in the EU single market.
Government resolution: support for repatriation flights possible
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government issued a resolution on 24 March allowing the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to plan to arrange reasonably priced repatriation flights for travellers who are no longer able to return to Finland using commercial connections. In line with the Government resolution, a maximum of EUR 4,000,000 in support can be provided for repatriation flights.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs adopts emergency management arrangements
On 16 March 2020, the Government decided that emergency conditions as referred to in the Emergency Powers Act prevail in Finland. From the Foreign Ministry's viewpoint, the serious disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is simultaneously affecting Finland's missions abroad, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland and Finnish society as a whole. The Ministry has therefore decided to make temporary changes in its management structure to be able to operate according to the Ministry's preparedness arrangements. These changes will take place on 24 March 2020.