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.
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.