Embassy of Finland in Pretoria, South Africa

The Government proposes EUR 1.3 billion in appropriations for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The promotion of human rights, the rule of law, democracy, peace, freedom, tolerance and equality in all international activities forms the central element of the value base on which Finland’s foreign and security policy rests. The budget proposal lays special emphasis on measures that strengthen the network of Finland’s missions abroad and support the availability of labour, participation in international crisis management, conflict prevention and mediation, and development cooperation.

Operating expenses of the Foreign Service

The proposed operating expenses total EUR 263 million, of which EUR 6.1 million will be generated from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). 

The significance of the network of missions for the security and wellbeing of Finland and people in Finland is indisputable. In order to continue the strengthening of the network of Finnish missions abroad, the budget proposal includes an entry of the opening of two new missions in 2022. In 2021, missions will be opened in Dakar, Senegal, and Doha, Qatar. After that the network of Finnish missions abroad will total 91 offices. The locations for the missions to be opened in 2022 will be decided later. 

The immigration processes handled by the missions abroad will be accelerated by hiring more people, on a temporary basis, to process residence permits. This is part of the Government’s fast-acting measures to ensure the availability of skilled labour. The additional resources will be allocated to missions where the number of permit applications has increased and where there is a need to reduce backlogs in the processing of applications.

Finland is working to put in place a digital infrastructure that utilises world-class automation to support the immigration of experts. As part of this package, a long-term D visa will be introduced. The preparative phase will be funded from RRF. On the basis of work launched by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the revenue generated by RRF will also be used to create a digital Virtual Finland service platform that will provide integrated service paths for companies, employees and students arriving in Finland. In line with the Government Programme, these measures will support the availability of skilled labour. 

Crisis management

In line with the Government Programme, a stronger priority in Finland’s foreign policy will be placed on the prevention of conflicts and on mediation and peacebuilding.

Finland supports the dialogue processes in mediation, promotes efforts to resolve ongoing conflicts, and strengthens mediation activities and mediation capacity both nationally and internationally. An appropriation totalling EUR 4.4 million is proposed for mediation.

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

The number of personnel recruited to military crisis management posts is estimated to total up to 400 person-years in 2022, while approximately 135 experts will be recruited for civilian crisis management in 2022.

Development cooperation

Finland’s aim in international development cooperation is to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequality and implement human rights. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme poverty and hunger have started to increase, thereby risking many goals achieved in development. Besides managing 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 EUR 1.3 billion, which corresponds to around 0.49 % of GNI. It is proposed that an appropriation of EUR 706 million and mandate commitments of EUR 596 million be allocated to official development assistance (ODA) administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The expenses from the latter will be incurred after 2022. It is also proposed that the capital of Finnfund be increased by EUR 10 million and that EUR 130 million be allocated to financial investments in development cooperation.

Other appropriations

Approximately EUR 96 million is proposed for membership fees and contributions to international organisations. The bulk of this sum will be directed to Finland’s contributions to the UN.

An appropriation of EUR 4.8 million is proposed for 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 emphasis will be on projects that support Finland’s Chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in 2021–2023.  

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of Finland in Pretoria, South Africa.

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