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.
Survey based on reviews by Finnish missions abroad: Education, equality, and Sanna Marin raised Finland’s profile in foreign media in 2019
A report entitled Finland in the World Media, based on Finnish diplomatic and consular missions’ reviews of the visibility of Finland in foreign media, shows that Finland continues to attract wide international coverage. The change of government towards the end of 2019 and Sanna Marin’s appointment as Prime Minister attracted exceptionally wide international interest in Finland. As in previous years, other key themes connected to Finland were the education system, equality, and gender equality.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to attend Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers
On 23 March 2020, the Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers will be held as a video conference. Finland will be represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The main topic on the agenda will be the COVID-19 outbreak.
Finland suspends the reception and processing of ordinary visa and residence permit applications in the missions
Owing to the coronavirus outbreak, Finland, in line with the rest of the Schengen countries, has suspended the reception of normal visa applications in Finland’s missions with immediate effect from 19 March until further notice.
Finland supports the World Health Organization in responding to the COVID-19 virus epidemic
Finland will contribute one million euros to the World Health Organization (WHO) for its work in developing countries to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO will provide expert and material assistance especially to countries with a poor capacity to fight the epidemic.
Discretionary government transfers to civil society organisations operating in the field of foreign and security policy for 2020
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted a total of EUR 1,061,000 in discretionary government transfers to 13 civil society organisations (CSO) working in the area of foreign and security policy.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council and informal meeting of foreign ministers
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will attend the informal meeting of the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs (Gymnich) in Zagreb on 5 March. The topics on the agenda are Turkey and Russia. In connection with the Gymnich meeting, an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council will be held on 6 March to discuss the situation in Syria.
Foreign Minister Haavisto to attend a nuclear disarmament meeting in Berlin
On 25 February, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will travel to Berlin to attend the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Stockholm Initiative on Nuclear Disarmament and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), hosted by the German Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the visit, Foreign Minister Haavisto will have a separate meeting with Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas.
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari to visit Tanzania and Mozambique
Minister Ville Skinnari will visit Tanzania on 23–25 February and Mozambique on 26–28 February. During the visit, the Minister will learn about Finland's development cooperation in the two countries and have meetings with their political leadership. The visit will also promote commercial cooperation between Finland and these countries.
Minister Ville Skinnari to visit Stockholm to discuss trade policy and sustainable development
On 18 February, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will visit Stockholm to attend a meeting convened by Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs Anna Hallberg. The meeting will discuss ways to promote trade and sustainable development. In addition to Minister Skinnari, representatives of Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic are expected to attend the meeting.
Foreign Minister Haavisto to attend Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels
The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will meet in Brussels on 17 February. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The topics on the agenda will be the EU’s relationship with the African Union and the situation in Libya. In connection with the meeting, Foreign Ministers will also meet the Indian Minister of External Affairs to discuss the preparations for the upcoming EU–India Summit.
Minister Ville Skinnari to Brussels to discuss the EU's new Africa Strategy
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles and EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen have invited EU development ministers to discuss the new EU Strategy for Africa at an informal lunch in Brussels on 13 February. Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will represent Finland at the meeting.
Discretionary government transfers granted for civil society organisations’ Europe information in 2020
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted EUR 420,000 in discretionary government transfers to 20 civil society organisations’ (CSOs) Europe information. The total number of supported projects is 22.
Finland to lead the Freedom Online Coalition in 2021
Finland has been elected as the Chair of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), a partnership committed to supporting internet freedoms and promoting respect for human rights, FOC members for the year 2021. The decision was announced on Friday 7 February at the Annual Freedom Online Conference in Accra.
Foreign Minister Haavisto to International Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna
On 10 February, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will visit Vienna to attend the third International Conference on Nuclear Security, organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). While in Vienna, Minister Haavisto will meet, among others, Austria’s Federal Minister for European and International Affairs Alexander Schallenberg and Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology Leonore Gewessler.
Development Policy Committee appointed – new role and reformed composition
The Development Policy Committee (DPC) for this government term met at its first plenary session on 6 February 2020. Its key aim is to encourage discussion on development policy at national and, in particular, parliamentary levels. All parliamentary parties and key stakeholders in development policy contexts are represented in the Committee.
Visit to military bases in Lapland in line with OSCE Vienna document
Finland will organise an international visit to Lapland Air Command and Jaeger Brigade on 11 to 15 May 2020. An invitation will be sent to all participating States of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a total of 56 countries.
The European Committee on Social Rights made a ruling against Finland on restricting the right to early childhood education and care
On 4 February, the European Committee on Social Rights issued its ruling on a collective complaint lodged by the Central Union for Child Welfare against Finland in November 2016 concerning the restriction of children's subjective right to early childhood education and care.
Personal Envoy of UN Secretary-General to visit Finland to report on Mozambican peace process
Mirko Manzoni, Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Mozambique and Neha Sanghrajka, Senior Mediation Advisor, will visit Finland on 3–4 February. The Mozambican peace process is in a critical phase as the opposition troops are being demobilised. The aim is to return them to their communities and reintegrate them into a peaceful society.
Finland to lead the Committee of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention
On 31 January, Finland’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Nina Nordström, was elected as Chair of the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). The Permanent Representatives of Ireland and Albania were elected as Vice-Chairs.
Foreign ministers of Sweden and Norway to visit Finland
Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde and Norway’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide will visit Finland on 5–6 February. The two ministers will attend the Hanalys seminar on foreign and security policy at Hanaholmen on 6 February.
Additional funding of 22.5 million euros for civil society organisations’ development cooperation as part of the implementation of the Government Programme
By decision of Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has granted 22.5 million euros for Finnish civil society organisations’ (CSOs) development cooperation programmes in Africa for 2020–2021.
Representative of northeast Syrian autonomous administration to visit Finland
Dr Abdulkarim Omar, who represents the autonomous administration of northeast Syria, will visit Helsinki on 29–30 January 2020. Omar is Co-Chair of the Foreign Relations Commission in northeast Syria, which has declared itself as an autonomous region.
Minister for Development and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari to the Arctic Frontiers 2020 Conference in Tromsø
Minister for Development and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will attend the Arctic Frontiers 2020 Conference in Tromsø on 27 January. It is one of the most important regular international events concentrating on Arctic cooperation.
Finland to reopen its embassy in Manila
Finland is preparing the reopening of its embassy in Manila, the Philippines. The Finnish embassy in Manila was closed in 2012 due to cuts in Foreign Service appropriations. Since then, Finland has handled its relations with the Philippines from Malaysia. Customers have been served at Finland’s Consular Office in Manila.
Finland to support disability rights in Syria
Finland is to allocate EUR 4 million to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for use in rehabilitating people with disabilities, including seriously injured civilians, supporting livelihoods and improving attitudes towards people with disabilities in Syria. This is a follow-on from Finland's earlier support for the same purpose.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto to attend the Holocaust Ministerial Conference and Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels
Foreign Minister Haavisto will represent Finland at the Ministerial Conference of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in Brussels on 19 January. On the following day, 20 January, the Minister will attend the EU Foreign Affairs Council. The Foreign Affairs Council will focus on the Sahel and climate diplomacy.
Travelling abroad? Remember to use the Foreign Ministry’s services for peace of mind
When Finns travel abroad, the majority of trips go according to plan. In 2019, approximately 251,000 people registered their travel details at matkustusilmoitus.fi, a service maintained by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The most common travel destinations registered were Spain, Thailand and Turkey. In the event of a crisis situation of some kind, the Ministry sends information and guidance to those who had submitted travel details indicating they could be in the area affected. In 2019, there were 142 such crisis situations, most of which involved natural disasters.
What kind of world do we operate in? The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will organise a series of panel discussions on topical foreign and security policy matters at Finnish universities
Preparations for a new report on foreign and security policy are currently under way. As part of this process, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will organise a series of panel discussions on topical foreign and security policy questions in cooperation with five Finnish universities in spring 2020.
Meeting of co-chairs of the Finnish-Russian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation
On 15–16 January, Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari will travel to Moscow for a co-chairs’ meeting of the Finnish-Russian Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation.