Press release 172/2014
7 August 2014
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs 2015 budget proposal for the administrative branch totals 1,190 million euros.
The structural shift in world politics and the world economy continues, and economic external relations will continue to gain greater significance. International relations entail the need to be prepared for different crises and disturbances, in the European area as well, as the situation in Ukraine shows. The significance of interdependence increases, and such issues as cyber security gain higher importance.
Citizens, other public administration organs, and companies have increased expectations for the services provided by the Finnish Foreign Service.
The Ministry’s proposed operating expenses for 2015 come to 213.5 million euros, which exceeds the spending limits for the administrative branch by 12.7 million euros.
The primary goal of the Ministry’s budget proposal is to secure the system of Finnish foreign representation. The importance and coverage of the foreign representation network becomes emphasised in international influencing. Resources will be concentrated particularly to countries and regions that have increasing political and economic significance for Finland. In restructuring and streamlining the system of Finnish foreign representation, alongside Nordic cooperation, the focus will be on the development of the EU’s External Action Service and the Team Finland operating model.
Consular services will be developed to reflect the changing demands. At the same time, strong emphasis will be placed on the agency and responsibility of individual citizens. In arrangement of immigration services, prevention of illegal immigration and human trafficking, and crisis affairs, advantage will be taken of cooperation between authorities, and the opportunities offered by Nordic and EU cooperation.
The Ministry estimated that the revenues from operations subject to charge (visa handling fees) will fall in 2015 by more than 14 million euros compared to this year’s budget. In its budget proposal, the Ministry has assumed that the loss of revenue be taken into account in the 2015 budget proposal. For its own part, the Ministry will readjust the visa operations by reducing the resources allocated for the service in accordance with the changed demand.
In 2015 Finland will be chairing the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) and hosting a plenary meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).
Finland is actively involved in international crisis management, the main areas of focus being in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia, Libya, and Ukraine. It is estimated that in 2015 a total of around 660 hired staff will be involved in military and civilian crisis management operations.
It is proposed that 37.2 million euros be allocated for the maintenance costs of Finnish crisis management troops. Following the orientations laid down in 2011–2013, the biggest operations are the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon and the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
It is proposed that 15.4 million euros be allocated to the participation of civilian personnel in crisis management, of which 400,000 is set aside for mediation. Finland’s civilian crisis management role is predominantly through EU operations.
Development cooperation expenditure in 2015 is expected to come in at 1,015.3 million euros, which according to current projections is the equivalent of around 0.50% of GNI. The proposed sum for development cooperation proper is 801.4 million euros. In keeping with the Government’s 2013 spending limits decision, revenue from the auctioning of emissions rights will be channelled to development cooperation and climate financing. The use of emissions trading revenue for this purpose is aimed at increasing Finland’s development cooperation spending as a proportion of GNI.
Finland’s human rights approach to development policy is ultimately aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and at securing a life of human dignity in line with the UN Millennium Declaration Goals. Finland will contribute to strengthening the status of the poor and reduction of inequality. The focus of Finnish operations will be on the least developed countries in Africa and Asia, and on so-called fragile states.
Development policy is geared to finding solutions to other global challenges as well, such as climate change. In line with the Cancun 2010 agreements, industrialised countries will be aiming by 2020 to raise annual funds of USD 100 billion to finance climate measures in developing countries. Out of the appropriations for development cooperation included in the 2015 budget proposal, an estimated 87.7 million euros will be allocated to Finnish climate funding.
The budget proposal includes 10 million euros to increase the share capital of the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund).
The budget proposal earmarks 1.6 million euros for Baltic Sea, Barents and Arctic cooperation. The main focus in this area will be on Northern Dimension policy and multilateral cooperation in northern region councils, such as the Council of Baltic Sea States, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, and the Arctic Council.
It is proposed that 81.5 million euros be allocated to membership fees and contributions. Finnish contributions to the UN account for the bulk of the appropriation.
It is estimated that the administrative branch under the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will receive 16 million euros in revenue that is not included in the Ministry’s operating expenditure. These revenue sources include wage compensation paid by the UN for military crisis management and joint development cooperation projects.
Additional information: Financial Director Risto Hakoila, tel. +358 295 351 287 and Head of Financial Planning Katja Bordi, tel. +358 295 351 284; for development cooperation, Head of Unit Timo Olkkonen, General Development Policy and Planning Unit, tel. +358 295 350 945; and for Baltic, Barents and Arctic region cooperation, Head of Unit Marja Liivala, tel. +358 295 351 727