Budget proposal for next year will further enhance Finland’s global engagement and bolster post-pandemic management

Budget proposal for next year will further enhance Finland’s global engagement and bolster post-pandemic management

The budget proposal focuses on improvements to the ability of Finland’s missions abroad to operate effec-tively; participation in international crisis management, conflict prevention and mediation; measures to en-sure an appropriate level of development finance; and post-crisis measures following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic and post-crisis management greatly highlight the need for international cooperation. Post-pandemic recovery funding, such as the EU’s recovery package, will also bring new opportunities for commercial and economic cooperation.

Operating expenses of the Foreign Service

A total of EUR 239 million is proposed for the operating expenses of the Foreign Service in 2021. 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 activities of Finland’s network of missions abroad will continue to be strengthened next year, and the budget proposal includes the opening of one new embassy in 2021. The significance of the network of mis-sions for the security and wellbeing of Finland and its citizens is indisputable. As Finland and the world move towards managing the post-pandemic situation, the value of the missions network for promoting Finland’s exports and international cooperation will be further accentuated.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will also continue to develop the Team Finland export promotion network with the aim of supporting Finnish companies’ business opportunities and employment, and will prepare new solutions to promote exports and trade in a world altered by the virus pandemic.

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 will support the dialogue processes in mediation, promote efforts to resolve ongoing conflicts, and strengthen mediation activities and mediation capacity both nationally and internationally. An appropriation totalling EUR 1.0 million is proposed for mediation.

Finland will continue active participation in international crisis management. Its international crisis management tasks will focus on Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Georgia. In addition, Finland will take part in operations in Africa, the Mediterranean and Kosovo. 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 17.6 million is proposed for civilian crisis management.

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’s overall public development cooperation expenditure is estimated at EUR 1.2 billion, which corresponds to around 0.49 % of gross national income (GNI). This sum consists of central government expendi-ture items reported as development cooperation, the largest elements of which are items payable from the main expenditure titles of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and also the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

It is proposed that an appropriation of EUR 711 million and mandate commitments of EUR 671 million be allocated to official development assistance (ODA) administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The expenditure arising from the commitments will be incurred after 2021. It is also proposed that the capital of Finnfund be increased by EUR 10 million and that approximately EUR 130 million be allocated to financial investments in development cooperation.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having the greatest impact on the poorest citizens in the poorest countries. Developing countries are dealing not only with a health crisis but also a wideranging and significant socio-economic crisis that has an impact on the internal stability and security of these countries. Finland is also preparing for the needs of post-pandemic management through development cooperation, which is why the proposed appropriation for the exclusive ODA budget item administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is about EUR 25 million more than in 2020 and the total appropriation reported as Finland's public development cooperation is about EUR 165 million more than in 2020.

Other appropriations

Approximately EUR 89 million is proposed for membership fees and contributions to international organisations. Finnish contributions to the UN account for the bulk of this appropriation.

EUR 2.4 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 region.

Inquiries:

Otto Turtonen, Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 350 015,
Katja Bordi, Head of Financial Planning, tel. +358 295 351 284, 
Ramses Malaty, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 351 001 

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format [email protected]