Ministerial committees, ministerial working groups and informal government meetings

Ministerial committees and working groups are groups of government members that deal with certain areas of interest or branches of government. They guide cooperation between ministries, prepare matters related to their own areas of interest and formulate policies.

Informal government meetings and government evening sessions make up an important part of the Government's work. They are informal meetings dealing with current affairs.

Ministerial committees and working groups

The Government has four statutory ministerial committees:

  • Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy
  • Ministerial Committee on European Union Affairs
  • Ministerial Finance Committee
  • Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy.

These statutory ministerial committees are chaired by the Prime Minister. Extraordinary ministerial committees may also be appointed by a government plenary session as needed.

The Government may set up ministerial working groups to address a specific issue or set of related issues. Decisions on the ministerial working groups, their tasks and members are made during the government formation talks or later in the government term. 

Informal government meetings and government evening sessions

The Government holds informal meetings to prepare matters. Such meetings have been referred to as informal government meetings, but some have been given other names, for example government evening sessions, government strategy sessions and government budget sessions. The meetings are convened by the Prime Minister and attended by all government members.

Evening sessions are usually held on Wednesdays. The practice started in the 1930s when the then Prime Minister, A.K. Cajander, invited the government members to his official residence on Wednesdays to discuss matters that would come up on Thursday's plenary session. In addition to the ministers, evening sessions are attended by the chairs of the parliamentary groups of the government parties, the state secretaries and special advisers to the ministers, and the Director of Government Communications.