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Press Releases, 19.09.2017 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 2018 budget proposal

Press release 159/2017
19 September 2017

The Government proposes that EUR 1,092 million be allocated to the administrative branch of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for 2018.

Foreign and security policy aims to strengthen Finland’s international position, to secure Finland’s independence and territorial integrity as well as to improve the security and welfare of people in Finland. Finland promotes international stability, peace, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equality. The Foreign Ministry’s operational priorities are strengthening the stability of the Baltic Sea region, closer foreign-policy collaboration between Finland and Sweden, Arctic policies, reinforcing transatlantic cooperation, and mediation.

The strong changes in the operating environment bring Finland both new opportunities and serious concerns.

Speed and unpredictability mark the changes of the altered environment. The European Union is Finland’s primary foreign and security policy framework and an important security community. Migration has increased expectations regarding the EU’s capacities as have the weakened security of Europe and the Baltic Sea region and the threat of terrorism and radicalisation. With the changes in the environment, Nordic contacts and cooperation will become closer, especially between Finland and Sweden. Another aim is to strengthen transatlantic collaboration. The Foreign Ministry builds cooperation and maintains dialogue with Russia, while at the same time influencing the EU’s collective policies towards Russia.

Population trends and migration, as well as the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution – including technological development, especially digitalisation, the globalisation of the economy and international value networks – impact Finland both directly and indirectly. At the same time, measures restricting world trade and tendency to look inwards are growing. Climate change, the sufficiency of natural resources, food security and poverty as well as changes in energy production affect the global operating environment. The polarisations developing between and inside societies increase the risks of conflict. Difficult and often prolonged conflicts and the activities of extremist organisations exacerbate security issues and prevent development in many countries. Terrorism is a serious international problem. Conflicts, poverty and the consequences of climate change increase the number of refugees, and the need for humanitarian aid is greater than ever. All of this also makes Western democracies more vulnerable. The need for more efficient international cooperation has further increased. Active foreign policy, which guarantees security and welfare in Finland, requires a Foreign Service that has the ability to influence and on whose expertise the entire central government can rely.

Operating expenses

A total of EUR 218.6 million is proposed for the operating expenses of the Foreign Service.

The Foreign Service’s key instrument for influence is bilateral and multilateral diplomacy at different levels, based on strong expertise and close networks. The rapidly changing environment requires that the Foreign Service exercises efficient forecasting, monitoring, analysis, sharing of information and flexible use of resources.

The Foreign Service pays more and more attention to digitalisation, including social media as an operating environment. The Foreign Service will focus its resources on those countries whose political and economic significance for Finland is growing. The development of Finland’s external representation abroad will continue, taking into account the opportunities for collaboration with the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and the European External Action Service, as well as the Team Finland operating model.

The Team Finland structures will be operationalised. The role of the missions in promoting exports will be reinforced in close cooperation with the forthcoming Business Finland organisation.  Within the structure of the new Team Finland network of missions, the heads of missions will take a stronger role than previously as country managers. Practical export promotion know-how in the Foreign Service is developed.

The consular services provided by the Foreign Service will be developed, taking into account the amendments to the Consular Services Act and the Government Action Plan on Asylum Policy, while at the same time making sure that the services included in the Foreign Service’s duties are a positive factor when competing for international experts who are considering moving to Finland.

Finland will chair the Arctic Council in 2017–2019 and the Council of Europe in 2018–2019. In 2018, Finland will prepare for its EU Presidency in 2019 and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Foreign Service.

Crisis management

The focus areas of Finland’s international crisis management are Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, but Finland also participates in operations in Kosovo, the Mediterranean region and Africa. In 2018, the number of personnel hired for military and civilian crisis management tasks is expected to be approximately 640.

A total of EUR 52.6 million is proposed for the maintenance costs of Finnish contingents assigned to crisis management operations. The largest operations will be the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon, the training mission in Iraq and the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

It is proposed that EUR 15.4 million be allocated for the participation of civilian personnel in crisis management, of which EUR 500,000 would be set aside for mediation. Finland participates in civilian crisis management predominantly through EU operations.

Development cooperation

An estimated EUR 886.3 million will be allocated for the government’s development cooperation expenditure in 2018; according to current forecasts, this corresponds to approximately 0.38 per cent of gross national income. A total of EUR 546.3 million is proposed for the ODA administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In addition to the exclusive ODA budget item administered by the Foreign Ministry, support will be continued in the form of development policy investments. These funds will also be used for financing climate actions in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Government’s long-term goal is to raise the financing for development to 0.7 per cent of gross national income, in accordance with the UN’s objective.

In development cooperation the focus will be on the priority areas of the government report: women and girls; developing countries’ economies and sustainable jobs; democratic and well-functioning societies; sustainable availability of water and energy, and food security. Finland will pay special attention to the rights of girls and women, including reproductive health. Finland will focus on Africa as a region.

Finland’s development policy and cooperation are based on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 Agenda outside Finland. This will be achieved by supporting developing countries in the attainment of sustainable development goals and by promoting changes needed in the global operating environment.

EUR 130.0 million is proposed for development policy investments. The budget proposal includes EUR 10.0 million to increase the share capital of the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund).

Other appropriations

EUR 1.8 million is proposed for Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic cooperation. This will focus on projects that support Finland’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2017–2019.

An allocation of EUR 90.0 million is proposed for membership fees and contributions. Finnish contributions to the UN account for the bulk of this appropriation.

It is estimated that the administrative branch of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will accrue EUR 33.9 million in revenues not included in the Ministry’s operating expenses. The revenue sources include visa processing fees, proceeds from the sale of property and refunds of membership fees and contributions to international organisations and of development assistance.

Additional information: Risto Hakoila, Financial Director, tel. +358 295 351 287; questions concerning development cooperation: Lotta Karlsson, Director, tel. +358 295 351 932; questions concerning Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic cooperation: Birgit Autere, Team Leader, tel. + 358 295 351 240.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.

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