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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strengthens the network of Finnish missions abroad and invests in measures promoting the availability of skilled labor

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strengthens the network of Finnish missions abroad and invests in measures promoting the availability of skilled labor

Higher priority in Finnish foreign policy will be given to conflict prevention as well as mediation and peacebuilding

PRETORIA, South Africa, September 27, 2021 / APO Group / –

The government is offering 1.3 billion euros in appropriations for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The promotion of human rights, the rule of law, democracy, peace, freedom, tolerance and equality in all international activities constitutes the central element of the basis of values ​​on which Finland’s foreign and security policy is based. The budget proposal places particular emphasis on measures which strengthen the network of Finnish missions abroad and support the availability of manpower, participation in international crisis management, prevention and mediation of conflicts and development cooperation.

Operating expenses of the Foreign Service

The proposed operating expenditure amounts to € 263 million, of which € 6.1 million will come from the EU Recovery and Resilience Mechanism (FRR).

The importance of the mission network for the safety and well-being of Finland and the Finnish people is unquestionable. In order to continue strengthening the network of Finnish missions abroad, the budget proposal provides for the opening of two new missions in 2022. In 2021, missions will be opened in Dakar, Senegal, and Doha, in Qatar. Then, the network of Finnish missions abroad will total 91 offices. The locations of the missions that will be open in 2022 will be decided later.

Immigration processes managed by missions abroad will be speeded up by hiring more people, on a temporary basis, to process residence permits. This is part of the government’s rapid action measures to ensure the availability of a skilled workforce. The additional resources will be allocated to missions where the number of permit applications has increased and where there is a need to reduce delays in processing applications.

Finland is working to build a digital infrastructure that uses world-class automation to support expert immigration. As part of this package, a long-term D visa will be introduced. The preparatory phase will be financed by the RRF. Based on the work initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the revenues generated by RRF will also be used to create a Virtual Finland digital services platform that will provide integrated service paths for businesses, employees and students arriving in Finland. In accordance with the government program, these measures will support the availability of a skilled workforce.

Crisis management

In line with the government program, higher priority in Finnish foreign policy will be given to conflict prevention as well as mediation and peacebuilding.

Finland supports dialogue processes in mediation, encourages efforts to resolve ongoing conflicts and strengthens mediation activities and mediation capacity at national and international levels. A credit totaling 4.4 million euros is proposed for mediation.

Finland will continue to participate actively in international crisis management. In international crisis management missions, Finland focuses on Lebanon and Iraq, but it also participates in operations in Kosovo, Africa and the Mediterranean. A total of 53.1 million euros is proposed for the maintenance costs of the Finnish contingents assigned to crisis management operations. Finland will continue to increase the participation of civilian personnel in crisis management. 18.5 million euros are proposed for civilian crisis management.

The number of people recruited for military crisis management positions is estimated at 400 person-years in total in 2022, while around 135 experts will be recruited for civilian crisis management in 2022.

Development cooperation

Finland’s goal in international development cooperation is to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequalities and implement human rights. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme poverty and hunger began to increase, putting many of the development goals achieved at risk. In addition to dealing with a severe crisis, the recovery phase also requires significant international support. Finland is also preparing for the needs of post-pandemic management through development cooperation.

Finland’s overall public development cooperation expenditure is estimated at € 1.3 billion, which corresponds to around 0.49% of GNI. It is proposed that a credit of 706 million euros and mandate commitments of 596 million euros be allocated to official development assistance (ODA) managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The latter’s expenses will be incurred after 2022. It is also proposed that Finnfund’s capital be increased by EUR 10 million and that EUR 130 million be allocated to financial investments in development cooperation.

Other credits

About 96 million euros are proposed for membership fees and contributions to international organizations. Most of this will go to Finland’s contributions to the UN.

A credit of 4.8 million euros is proposed for the Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic cooperation. Regional cooperation is an important means of promoting stability, security, sustainable development and economic opportunities in the Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic regions. The focus will be on projects that support Finland’s presidency of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in 2021-2023.

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