Next year´s budget to strengthen Finland´s international effectiveness and support the post-crisis measures of the coronavirus pandemic

Next year´s budget to strengthen Finland´s international effectiveness and support the post-crisis measures of the coronavirus pandemic

The budget proposal of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs covering the administrative sector for which it is responsible totals EUR 1.3 billion. It is EUR 29 million more than in the 2020 budget. Of the appropriations under the main expenditure title, the Foreign Service accounts for 21%, crisis management 6%, international development cooperation 66% and other expenditure 7%.

The budget proposal stresses the improvement of the operational preconditions of Finland’s missions abroad; participation in international crisis management, conflict prevention and mediation; measures to ensure an appropriate level of development finance; and post-crisis measures following the coronavirus pandemic. The management of the coronavirus pandemic will further increase the need for international cooperation, which will require additional measures by Finland. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs works to promote the interests and effectiveness of Finland and Finnish people in this cooperation.  

Operating expenses of the Foreign Service

EUR 239 million is proposed for the operating expenses. 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. Finland’s foreign and security policy aims at strengthening Finland’s international position, safeguarding its independence and territorial integrity, improving the security and wellbeing of Finland and its people, and ensuring that Finnish society functions efficiently.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will continue to develop the Team Finland export promotion network to support the business and employment opportunities of Finnish companies, for example by strengthening cooperation between the Team Finland actors and the Talent Boost programmes in Finnish missions. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry is also seeking new ways to promote exports and trade.

The aim is to continue to strengthen the operation of the mission network and to open a new embassy in 2021, as laid down in the proposal.  

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 aims to foster 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 1.0 million is proposed for mediation.

Finland will continue active participation in international crisis management. In international crisis management activities, Finland focuses on Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Georgia, but it also participates in operations in Kosovo, Africa and the Mediterranean. An appropriation totalling EUR 53.1 million is proposed for the maintenance costs of Finnish crisis management forces, which corresponds to the level of funding in 2020. Finland will continue to increase the participation of civilian personnel in crisis management. An appropriation of EUR 17.6 million is proposed for civilian crisis management, which represents an increase of 1.0 million from 2020.

The number of personnel recruited for military crisis management is estimated to total up to 500 person-years in 2021, while approximately 130 experts will be recruited for civilian crisis management in 2021.

Development cooperation

Finland’s aim in international development cooperation is to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce inequality and implement human rights. Safe living conditions, human rights and people’s ability to influence their affairs, sufficient livelihoods and a good living environment also strengthen international security, the economy and the environment. Finland’s development policy draws on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a framework for all countries to achieve sustainable development. Finland supports developing countries in the attainment of sustainable development goals and encourages changes needed in the global operating environment. 

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, extreme poverty and hunger have started to increase, thereby risking many goals achieved in development. In addition to managing the acute crisis, the recovery phase requires significant international support, in which Finland will participate through development cooperation and humanitarian aid. The effects of the pandemic will be taken into account in the planning of all forms of cooperation regarding the appropriations for 2021 and multiannual commitments. If necessary, the ongoing cooperation measures will be redirected to support the resilience of societies and their recovery from the pandemic.

Finland’s overall public development cooperation expenditure is estimated at EUR 1.2 billion, which corresponds to around 0.51% of GDP. 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 of Foreign Affairs. The expenses from the latter will be incurred after 2021. 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.

The appropriation proposed for the ODA administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is approximately EUR 25 million higher than in 2020. The total reported appropriation for Finland’s public development cooperation is estimated to be approximately EUR 165 million higher than in 2020 due to an increase in items outside the development cooperation item.

Other appropriations

Approximately EUR 89 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 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.

It is estimated that the administrative branch of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will accrue EUR 24.8 million in revenues not included in the Ministry’s operating expenses. The revenue sources include rental income from cultural and academic institutes, visa processing fees, proceeds from development cooperation projects, and refunds of membership fees and contributions to international organisations and of development assistance. The estimated revenues are over EUR 30 million lower than originally estimated for 2020. The decrease is mainly due to the expected collapse in the number of visa processing fees and the fact that no property sales are planned for 2021.

Risto Hakoila, Financial Director, tel. +358 295 351 287, 
Katja Bordi, Head of Financial Planning, tel. +358 295 351 284, 
Ramses Malaty, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 351 001 (in development cooperation matters), and 
Niklas Lindqvist, Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 351 517 (in matters related to cooperation in the Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic region).

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