Finnish and Estonian interior ministers meet in Tallinn
Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen will visit Tallinn on 2–3 May and meet Estonian Minister of the Interior Kristian Jaani. The Ministers will discuss topics including the situation in Ukraine, the reception of people who have fled Ukraine, provision of international assistance and civil defence.
“Close cooperation between our countries is perhaps now more important than ever before, especially in matters related to the refugee situation and reception systems. It is very good that the Finnish and Estonian authorities meet every week and share their situation awareness on these issues," says Minister Mikkonen.
Over 5 million people have fled Ukraine, most of them women and children. More than 20,500 Ukrainian nationals had applied for temporary protection in Finland by 26 April. Ukrainians fleeing the war come to Finland primarily through the Baltic States/Estonia.
Largest assistance operation in the history of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism under way
The Ministers will also discuss international assistance provided to Ukraine through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Finland has sent civilian material assistance to Ukraine and Moldova, and expert assistance to Moldova, Slovakia, Poland and to the Emergency Response Coordination Centre in Brussels. Estonia has also sent international assistance to Ukraine through the Civil Protection Mechanism. The assistance operation that is under way is the largest in the history of the Civil Protection Mechanism and has channelled more than 22,000 tonnes of material aid to Ukraine.
Items on the agenda also include civil defence and its development. When it comes to civil defence shelters and preparedness systems, the situation is exceptionally good in Finland compared to many other countries. Unlike most other European countries, Finland has maintained its civil defence shelters and preparedness systems without interruption, also after the end of the Cold War.
Rescue authorities play a key operational and coordinating role in civil defence, but civil defence duties are the responsibility of different administrative branches, and a broad range of different authorities, communities and the public in general participate in these activities.
Active community of expatriate Finns in Estonia
During her visit, Minister Mikkonen will also meet expatriate Finns. In 2018, there were about 8,800 Finnish citizens registered as Estonian residents. Due to the integration of the economic and labour markets, it is difficult to estimate the number of Finns permanently residing in Estonia. The community of expatriate Finns in Estonia is very active, and there are Finnish societies, Finnish schools, the Finnish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Estonian-Finnish media in the country.
In December, the Ministry of the Interior published the Strategy on Expatriate Finns for 2022–2026. The Strategy’s actions aim to ensure that in future Finland is better able to serve its citizens regardless of time and place, and to support Finnish identity and culture abroad.
Laura Yli-Vakkuri, Director General, tel. +358 295 488 250, [email protected]
Tiina Kivinen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 566 19 22, [email protected] (requests for interviews with Minister Mikkonen)