EU foreign ministers discuss Belarus and EU–African Union relations
The EU Foreign Affairs Council will meet in Brussels on Monday 21 September. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The main topics on the agenda will be Belarus, the relationship between the EU and the African Union, and Libya.
Finland and 16 other participating States of OSCE commission an independent expert report on human rights violations in Belarus
On 17 September 2020, 17 participating States of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) decided to commission a report on serious human rights violations related to the presidential election in Belarus. Finland is one of the countries that took part in the decision.
Budget proposal for next year will further enhance Finland’s global engagement and bolster post-pandemic management
The budget proposal focuses on improvements to the ability of Finland’s missions abroad to operate effec-tively; participation in international crisis management, conflict prevention and mediation; measures to en-sure an appropriate level of development finance; and post-crisis measures following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic and post-crisis management greatly highlight the need for international cooperation. Post-pandemic recovery funding, such as the EU’s recovery package, will also bring new opportunities for commercial and economic cooperation.
Finland’s state leadership to attend 75th session of UN General Assembly high-level week virtually
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most events of the high-level week and the 75th anniversary session of the United Nations General Assembly will be held virtually this year. President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will speak at the 75th UN General Assembly
Preparation of Government’s Human Rights Report under way: participate in online consultation
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will hold an online consultation on the preparation of the Government new Human Rights Report on Thursday 10 September at 10.00–12.30. This online consultation will discuss matters raised on the draft document during the consultation process.
Foreign ministers meet in Berlin to discuss EU-Russia relations, Turkey and the situation in Belarus
On 27 and 28 August, EU foreign affairs ministers will hold an informal meeting (Gymnich), hosted by the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. Foreign ministers will discuss the EU-Russia relations, Turkey, and the situation in Belarus. They will also have a discussion on the geopolitical impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the EU's strategic response to them.
Virtual Team Finland Day attracts more than 1,000 participants
In addition to representing a challenge for Finland’s wellbeing, the coronavirus has also hit export companies, scrapping plans altogether or forcing companies to rethink their plans. How are companies adapting to the new situation? How does the pandemic affect export promotion?
Centre for Mediation to be set up at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
In the past ten years, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has consistently strengthened the position of mediation at international and national levels. In accordance with the Government Programme, mediation is one of the most important priorities in Finland’s foreign policy. To boost the implementation of the objective, Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto has decided to set up a Centre for Mediation under the administration of the Ministry’s Political Department.
Ambassadors to meet virtually this year
The Heads of Finnish Missions abroad will convene for their annual meeting on 24-26 August. Exceptionally, the meeting will be held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting will discuss how the world looks like during and after the coronavirus and how Finland is able to succeed in the future. The participants will approach the theme by assessing Finland’s foreign and security policy environment, for example.
World Humanitarian Day commemorates aid workers – Finland grants new aid to crisis areas
On World Humanitarian Day 19 August, the world pays attention to global humanitarian needs and honours the people who, in the midst of conflicts and natural disasters, support those in need. This year, the theme of the day is ‘real life heroes’. The majority of aid workers are local people who, in difficult and often dangerous circumstances, carry out humanitarian work to alleviate the distress of others.
EU foreign affairs ministers to discuss the situation in eastern Mediterranean and Belarus
EU foreign affairs ministers will hold an informal video conference on 14 August. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The main topics of discussion will be the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and Belarus. The situation in Lebanon and Venezuela will also be addressed.
Next year´s budget to strengthen Finland´s international effectiveness and support the post-crisis measures of the coronavirus pandemic
The budget proposal of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs covering the administrative sector for which it is responsible totals EUR 1.3 billion. It is EUR 29 million more than in the 2020 budget. Of the appropriations under the main expenditure title, the Foreign Service accounts for 21%, crisis management 6%, international development cooperation 66% and other expenditure 7%.
Foreign Minister Haavisto discusses with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto held a telephone conversation with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, 12 August 2020. In addition to the coronavirus situation, the ministers discussed issues relating to the European Union and Russia, the conflict in Ukraine, international Arctic cooperation and international arms control. The ministers also discussed bilateral issues between Finland and Russia and regional issues.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto visits Riga
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will visit Riga on 11 August 2020. He will attend the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace between Latvia and Soviet Russia. Haavisto will also have discussions with Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.
Foreign Minister Haavisto participated in support conference on Lebanon and the Beirut explosions
On 9 August 2020, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto took part in a support conference hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron on Lebanon and the explosion that shook Beirut on 4 August 2020.
EU-Vietnam free trade agreement takes effect
A free trade agreement between the European Union and Vietnam will enter into force on 1 August 2020. The agreement will open doors to a growing market of over 95 million consumers. “The agreement offers new opportunities for Finnish companies in Vietnam,” says Minister Skinnari.
Minister Haavisto in Iraq: “Finland supports Iraq’s stabilisation”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto visited Iraq on 22–23 July at the invitation of Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Fuad Hussein. The central purpose of the visit was to establish relations with Iraq’s new Government, to express support for Iraq’s stabilisation efforts, and to exchange views on topical bilateral and regional questions. Iraq is located in Europe’s neighbouring region and is an important country geopolitically. Its stability and the start of reconstruction are strongly in the interest of Finland and the whole European Union.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto visits Iraq
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto is visiting Iraq. During the visit, Foreign Minister Haavisto will have meetings with the country’s leadership and officially open the Finnish Embassy in Baghdad, which was reopened in autumn 2019. He will also meet the Finnish Crisis Management Force in Iraq.
Finland supports digitalisation of higher education in developing countries
Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted project funding under HEI ICI programme for 2020–2024. Over the next four years, the programme will support cooperation projects between higher education institutions in Finland and developing countries by EUR 11.2 million.
Foreign Affairs Council meets in Brussels to discuss Latin America and EU-Turkey relations
On 13 July, foreign ministers of the Member States of the European Union will convene for a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The main issues on the agenda will be the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean and the EU-Turkey relations. Other topical matters of discussion will be Hong Kong and the Middle East Peace Process. The meeting is the first EU meeting at ministerial level where ministers are physically present after the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic.
Foreign Ministry continues to promote youths’ peace work in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting the Salam project
The Foreign Ministry’s Salam project, which promotes peace and reconciliation, will continue in the form of annual workshops until 2023. The project aims to provide Iraqi and Afghan youth with opportunities for networking and accumulating knowledge about peace work and about how to use media skills as a way of exerting influence.
Foreign Minister Haavisto hosts a meeting on the Horn of Africa
Finland, under the leadership of Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto, invites EU foreign ministers to discuss the situation in the wider region on the Horn of Africa on 8 July. The conference will be attended by high-level representatives from the African Union, the European Union, and the United Nations.
Joint press statement: Nordic Foreign Ministers receive report on Nordic cooperation on foreign and security policy
On 30 October 2019, the foreign ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden decided to task Mr. Björn Bjarnason of Iceland to prepare an independ-ent report with non-binding proposals on how to further develop Nordic coopera-tion on foreign and security policy. This tasking marked ten years since Mr Thorvald Stoltenberg of Norway drafted a similar report presenting a range of recommenda-tions of which a large share have already been implemented.
Project support granted for 2021–2024: Projects by Finnish civil society organisations support civil societies in developing countries
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted EUR 25 million in project support to Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs), which will conduct development cooperation projects in developing countries in 2021–2024. Project support was granted to 36 CSOs for the implementation of 62 projects in 28 different countries.
Finland to be among lead partners in international gender equality work while UN Women celebrates its anniversary
Finland has been selected to join Generation Equality, a UN initiative to boost the achievement of gender equality goals worldwide. Finland will be a member of the Action Coalition responsible for the promotion of technology and innovation.
Finland supports Iraq’s fight against the spread of coronavirus
Finland has committed EUR 2 million to support Iraq’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The support is part of Finland’s development cooperation carried out in Iraq. The funds will be channelled to Iraq via the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), administered by UNDP.
European Committee of Social Rights ruled on pay equality in Finland
The European Committee of Social Rights stated in its decision published on 29 June that the measures to reduce the gender pay gap have not been sufficiently effective in Finland when measured by the gender pay gap in the whole labour market. The Committee also considered that the legal remedies available in Finland are not sufficient in a situation where a person is dismissed as a countermeasure to the requirement of equal pay, because the Finnish law does not require the reinstatement of employment.
Limited reception of residence permit applications to resume in Finnish missions abroad
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, Finland suspended the reception of ordinary visa and residence permit applications starting on 19 March 2020. The reception of ordinary visa applications continues to be suspended but activities relating to residence permit applications were gradually resumed in the missions on 16 June 2020.
Finland supports innovative forest inventory in Myanmar
Myanmar is launching a forest inventory project, which will be carried out also in conflict areas. Finland will allocate EUR 3.45 million in development cooperation appropriations to support the project in the first two years of its implementation.
EU foreign affairs ministers to discuss transatlantic relations
EU foreign affairs ministers will hold an informal video conference on 15 June. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The meeting will focus on the relations between the EU and the United States. Ministers will have a discussion with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo via a video connection.
Parliamentary Committee on Crisis Management started its work
In line with Prime Minister Marin's Government Programme, the Government appointed a Parliamentary Committee for Crisis Management for the period of 6.3.2020 to 28.2.2021. The committee will draft a comprehensive policy outline, extending over government terms, to make activities systematically more effective and to ensure better use of resources. The start of the Committee’s work was delayed due to the coronavirus situation, but it was launched at a meeting on 11 June, taking stock of the current state and prospects of Finland's participation in crisis management.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to attend Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers' meeting
On 11 June, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will attend a virtual meeting of Foreign Ministers between the EU and its Eastern Partnership countries. At the meeting, the ministers will discuss the EU’s support to Eastern Partnership countries during the coronavirus pandemic and the future priorities of cooperation. Preparations for the meeting of Heads of State or Government of the Eastern Partnership, to be held on 18 June, will also be on the agenda.
Finland to strengthen taxation capacity in developing countries with a focus on Africa
Finland's new Taxation for Development Action Programme aims to strengthen the taxation capacity of developing countries, to ensure tax responsibility of companies that receive development cooperation funds and to make the voices of developing countries heard at international negotiation tables.
EU development ministers discuss ways of supporting partner countries in the pandemic
On 8 June, EU development ministers will continue discussions on the EU's joint support for partner countries in responding to the effects of the coronavirus. Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will represent Finland in the informal video conference.
Finland participates in work promoting global access to vaccines
At the Global Vaccine Summit on 4 June 2020, Finland pledged EUR 2.5 million to the Vaccine Alliance Gavi. Finland’s contribution will be used to help Gavi reach its goal to immunise 300 children in the next five years and to strengthen global access to a COVID-19 vaccine. By supporting the healthcare systems of the poorest countries, it is possible to prevent the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases globally.
Minister Haavisto to attend Foreign Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group
On 4 May, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will attend a virtual meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group. Ministers will review the next steps in the fight to defeat ISIS.