Finland’s relations and development cooperation in Ukraine

Finland's development cooperation in Ukraine improves the quality of education, increases energy security and climate resilience, and strengthens the rule of law.

In the photo there are school children walking dressed in traditional costumes. Over the photo there is map of Europe, Ukraine higlighted.
Finland has supported Ukraine’s education sector reform. The support has improved, for example the quality of learning materials and learning environments. Picture: DPA Lehtikuva

The crisis in Ukraine in 2014 and the events that followed have weakened European security and the foundations for international cooperation. In the conflict in eastern Ukraine, nearly 14,000 people have died and more than 30,000 have been injured. Approximately 1.5 million Ukrainians are internally displaced, and more than 3 million citizens need humanitarian assistance and protection. Close to 5 million people live in the conflict area.

Despite the conflict, Ukraine has been able to carry out extensive public reforms and strengthen its democracy. The reforms have brought concrete benefits to citizens and improved the country's capacity to respond to various internal and external threats.

The reforms are, however, far from complete. There is corruption, the business environment is unstable and the rule of law does not function well enough. For the reforms to succeed, it is essential that Ukraine commit to implementing them.

Finland is active in Ukraine as part of the European Union and, through its policy, pursues the objectives of the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement, the Free Trade Agreement, the visa-free regime and the European Neighbourhood Policy. Finland's support to Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty is strong, and Finland condemns the illegal annexation of Crimea to Russia. Together with the rest of the international community, Finland supports the return of Crimea to Ukrainian rule, the efforts to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the implementation of Ukraine's public reforms.

The strategic goals of Finland’s comprehensive activities in Ukraine are described in the Country Strategy and the Country Programme. The latter focuses on development cooperation. The goals of the Country Strategy are to restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and to guarantee respect for international law; to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine; to strengthen bilateral relations between Finland and Ukraine and to widen the scope of cooperation; to enhance the resilience of society and to improve the living conditions of citizens; as well as to strengthen the relations between the European Union and Ukraine.

Finland supports Ukraine extensively both through development cooperation, civilian crisis management, humanitarian mine action, humanitarian assistance, and through the Council of Europe, NGOs and NATO funds. Finland’s overall support to Ukraine since 2014 has been over EUR 56 million. Development cooperation is one of the most important forms of this support.

Finland’s Country Strategy for Ukraine 2021–2024 (PDF)

Objectives of Finland’s development cooperation in Ukraine in 2021–2024

In 2021–2024, Finland's bilateral cooperation in Ukraine will focus on improving the quality of teaching, strengthening the rule of law, energy security and improving climate resilience. Finland’s support to Ukraine for 2021–2024 will be EUR 29 million.

Finland’s Country Programme for Development Cooperation in Ukraine (PDF)

In 2018–2021, Finland's support focused on the educational reform, increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies as well as on the development of the rule of law.

Finland's development cooperation to improve the quality of teaching and strengthen the rule of law

Finland's development cooperation will improve teaching practices and educational environments, enhance the attractiveness of vocational education and training and strengthen the implementation of the European standards related to the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

Expected outcome: The reforms aimed at improving teaching practices and strengthening the rule of law are successful

  • Educational practices and environments in primary and secondary education improve

  • Vocational education and training is more attractive as an alternative to both men and women

  • The implementation of the European standards concerning the rule of law, democracy and human rights are strengthened

Ongoing projects and programmes

  • Support for the Ukrainian school reform in 2018–2022. The project’s budget is EUR 8 million, of which Finland’s share is EUR 6 million and that of the EU is EUR 2 million.
  • Promoting Ukraine’s vocational education and training reform. In 2020–2021, Finland’s contribution to the joint project will be EUR 2 million.
  • Funding for the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) programme in Ukraine. In 2021, Finland contributes EUR 0.2 million.
  • Council of Europe Action Plan on Ukraine for 2018–2022. Finland’s contribution is EUR 5 million.

Finland’s development cooperation to improve energy security and climate resilience

Finland's development cooperation supports modern climate-friendly energy solutions and improves meteorological y services and early warning systems related to disaster risks.

Expected outcome: Energy security and climate sustainability improve

  • Modern technologies and solutions that are energy efficient and rely on renewable energy are increasingly being introduced
  • Meteorological services and disaster risk reduction mechanisms improve

Ongoing projects and programmes

  • Support to improving Ukraine’s energy efficiency and to increasing the use of renewable energy forms through the Finland–Ukraine Trust Fund within the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO). Finland’s contribution will be EUR 6 million in 2018–2022.

Finland’s cooperation partners in Ukraine

Finland's partners in Ukraine are the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, international development finance institutions and UN organisations. Finland acts as part of the European Union and promotes the implementation of the EU Ukraine agreements and related cooperation.

In Ukraine, Finland participates in the OSCE and EU civilian crisis management missions. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission monitors, among other things, the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. The EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) supports Ukraine in the reform of the judicial system, among other things. Finland funds humanitarian mine action and provides needs-based humanitarian assistance.

Finland supports the Council of Europe Action Plan, which encourages Ukraine to increase the independence of the judiciary, promote the implementation of European human rights standards, pursue good governance and protect the rights of minorities and internally displaced persons.

In the UN, Finland is actively involved in matters related to Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula and is a strong supporter of Ukraine. In this context, Finland works closely both as part of the EU and in cooperation with other Nordic and Baltic countries.

Finnish civil society organisations support the development of Ukraine’s society in collaboration with the country’s civil society actors. The support has focused, for example, on mediation and improving the position of persons with disabilities.

Commercial cooperation

Finland seeks to intensify commercial and economic cooperation between the countries with the help of the bilateral economic commission and through Team Finland.

The Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine has significantly increased trade between the EU and Ukraine, but this has not yet been adequately reflected in the trade

between Finland and Ukraine. The number of Finnish companies operating permanently in Ukraine has remained small, as there are still too many uncertainties in the business environment.

Ukraine, however, offers a significant market area of 40 million people, and there is demand for Finnish expertise. In recent years, several Finnish companies have sought business opportunities in Ukraine. Agriculture and forestry, information technology, energy efficiency and waste management, in particular, are examples of promising sectors in future.

Team Finland in Ukraine (in Finnish)(Link to another website.)