"Extensive, broad-based cooperation and swift measures are needed to address issues with the most far-reaching impacts"

3.2 Globally influential Finland

Current situation

Awareness of problems affecting the entire globe is increasing. Extensive, broad-based cooperation and swift measures are needed to address issues with the most far-reaching impacts, such as climate change, demographic trends, reduction of the loss of biological diversity, and preservation of a viable environment. The Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, which lays down the sustainable development goals (SDGs), provide the foundation for international cooperation and Finland’s actions in the coming years. 

The structures for international cooperation, including the UN system, are being adversely affected by various confrontational positions. These polarisations make it more difficult than before to defend the principles of the rules-based international system and international law and to develop these to meet new needs. The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the multilateral trading system are facing huge challenges. Rising protectionism and critical attitudes towards a multilateral trade policy have hampered the WTO's activities.

In a multipolar world, the global influence of both Europe and the United States is changing. China has become more prosperous and is trying to increase its global significance in many different ways. Other countries too, such as Russia, are seeking a more powerful position.

Commitment to universal human rights, democracy and the rule of law has weakened. Extreme poverty has declined around the world but remains considerable. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular lags behind. 

The geopolitical, environmental and economic significance of the Arctic region is growing. The Nordic countries continue to be Finland’s closest international partners. In recent years, security cooperation with the Nordic countries has advanced further because of increasing tensions in the Baltic Sea region.

Foreign and security policy

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 is based on good bilateral relations, an active role within the European Union, and effective multilateral cooperation based on respect for and strengthening of international law. Finland will work actively towards strengthening the position of the UN and its ability to operate effectively, and towards implementation of the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda. 

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 main goal of our foreign and security policy is to avoid becoming involved in a military conflict. Finland will pursue an active policy of stability to deter military threats and reduce tensions also more widely, and will not allow its territory to be used for hostilities against other countries. 

In its foreign and security policy, Finland will also make arrangements for dealing with climate change, natural disasters, growth in inequality, hybrid and cyber activities, and other non-military threats. Finland’s security of supply will be safeguarded in all circumstances. 

Finland will pursue a human rights-based foreign and security policy. The central aim of this policy is to systematically promote gender equality and the full materialisation of girls’ and women’s rights. 

Finland is a militarily non-allied state and maintains its own credible defence capability. To strengthen its defence, Finland will participate in security and defence policy cooperation in the European Union and through its NATO partnership and Nordic cooperation. Bilateral cooperation also forms part of the picture. Closer defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden, which are militarily non-allied states, offers special opportunities for strengthening the two countries’ defence. Finland’s defence capability must support its general foreign and security policy line. 

Finland’s security and defence policy is built on safeguarding the nation’s room for manoeuvre and on keeping different options open. This means the option of Finland applying for NATO membership is retained. Options will always be examined in a real-time context, taking into account changes in the international security environment.  

Finland will continue its wide-ranging cooperation with NATO based on its NATO partnership. We will participate in training and exercises based on our own circumstances. Efficient cooperation between the EU and NATO is in Finland’s interests.

In terms of our external relations, the European Union is Finland’s most important frame of reference and channel of influence, and a security community. It is in Finland’s interests to strengthen the EU’s unity and external ability to act. In the changing operating environment, it is important for Europe to develop its transatlantic relationship, too. As a Member State of the European Union, Finland could not stand as an outsider if security were threatened in its vicinity or elsewhere in Europe. 

Finland will maintain good and constructive relations with China, Russia and the United States and seek to act in such a way that the tensions visible in the relations between the big powers would not undermine rules-based multilateral international cooperation and respect for international law.

At the beginning of its term, the Government will prepare a report on Finnish foreign and security policy. The report’s account of the current situation and its analysis of the operating environment will provide guidance for the preparation of a defence policy report. In connection with the preparation of these security reports, a parliamentary monitoring procedure with representation from all parties in Parliament will be organised in a manner laid down by Parliament.  

The work of Finland’s diplomatic and consular missions abroad helps shape the conditions in which our security and wellbeing can be maintained. With this in mind, the network of Finland’s missions abroad will be expanded, for example in Africa and South and Southeast Asia. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and its network of missions abroad will focus more strongly on managing foreign and security policy, economic relations, exports, development policy and matters concerning entry into the country, as well as information security.

Objective 1

Finland will strengthen multilateral cooperation

Global problems can be resolved only in the context of an efficient and effective rules-based international system. Finland’s security and economic success will also be built on this same foundation. For this reason, Finland is one of the countries that defends the multilateral system and international law.

Measures

The United Nations serves as the bedrock of the multilateral system, and within this framework international treaties and conventions have been concluded to protect human rights and the environment and to control the arms race. Finland is committed to observing the UN’s universal values and works to strengthen international law, democracy and human rights. 

Fair treatment and gender equality are strongly visible in all our activities. We will establish new partnerships for promoting these matters, especially with African, Asian and Latin American countries.

Finland will work to strengthen and reform the UN system. Finland supports the UN reform process, which was initiated by the Secretary-General. This concerns changes in the UN’s management, peace and security, and in its development sector. The position of the Security Council as a guarantor of international peace and security must be strengthened both by enlarging the Council and by restructuring its working methods with the aim of a more limited use of the power of veto. Finland is a candidate for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for 2022–2024 and a candidate for non-permanent membership of the Security Council for 2029–2030.

Finland will support, strengthen and develop international law and a multilateral treaty system. It is important that the implementation and supervision of international human rights agreements be promoted and strengthened, including the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention).

Finland will work to combat and adapt to climate change in all foreign and security policy sectors, including trade and development policy. 

Finland will show initiative in the strengthening of global governance not only intergovernmentally but also in cooperation with civil society, businesses and other non-state actors.

The principles governing the work of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) form the basic pillar of Europe’s security, which is why it is essential that they be respected and reinforced. It is important to ensure that the Council of Europe is able act in political, economic and legal terms. 

We will promote the recruitment of Finnish specialists to international positions in the UN and other multilateral organisations.

Objective 2

Finland will build peace

In Finland’s foreign policy, a stronger priority will be placed on conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding. Finland will maintain and develop its capacity to take part in international civilian and military crisis management tasks in cooperation with other international actors. Finland's participation is seen as a means for it both to assume a share of the responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and to develop the capabilities and preparedness of the Defence Forces.

In the changing security environment, the importance of arms control will be emphasised.

Measures

Finland will increase its participation in the UN’s mediation and dialogue processes and in other similar processes.

Networking with Finnish mediation providers will be stepped up and this approach developed further on the basis of our strengths. 

In line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, Finland will promote women’s participation in peace talks and peacebuilding, with an emphasis on safeguarding women’s and girls’ rights in peace processes. Sustainable peace cannot be built on structures that maintain inequality. 

Finland will continue to support activities related to the Youth, Peace and Security theme, and will prepare a national action plan on the implementation of UN Resolution 2250. 

The aim is to raise the strength of Finland’s civilian crisis management force to at least 150 specialists. To further develop Finland's crisis management policy, a comprehensive document will be drawn up setting out the objectives for crisis management across parliamentary terms. The aim will be to improve effectiveness and the careful planning of resource use, and to ensure sufficient participation. 

If protracted crises are to be dealt with effectively, there has to be good coordination between peacebuilding, humanitarian assistance and development cooperation. This will be enhanced through more flexible funding of humanitarian assistance and development cooperation and by enabling multiannual funding arrangements.  

Finland will work to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and will use its extensive expertise in arms control matters. Finland will support the status of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in nuclear disarmament. Finland will continue to analyse the content of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and compare it with other key initiatives in the sector and actively follow the progress made in bringing the treaty into force. As the process moves forward, Finland will study the possibility of joining to the TPNW. Finland seeks the prohibition and disposal of all weapons of mass destruction.

In international negotiations, Finland will aim to advance the global regulation of autonomous weapons systems, the goal being to prohibit the development and production of weapons systems based on artificial intelligence (AI). 

Finland will promote universal adherence to and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Finland will not export defence materiel to countries that are engaged in war or are violating human rights. Defence materiel exports that are in compliance with international obligations will help support Finland’s military security of supply. In the export of defence materiel, Finland will act in accordance with international agreements and the commitments it has made, and in accordance with its national legislation.

Objective 3

Finland will shoulder its global responsibility

Development policy is a central part of Finland's foreign and security policy and is based on the 2030 Agenda. Finland aims at poverty eradication and reduction of inequalities.

Measures

In line with its commitment to the UN, Finland aims to direct 0.7 per cent of GNI to development cooperation and 0.2 per cent of GNI to the least developed countries. Finland aims to strengthen the gender perspective in its development cooperation in order to gradually reach the EU’s target of gender-targeted and mainstreamed actions across 85 per cent of its new programmes.  

Finland will prepare a roadmap and timetable for attaining the UN goals.

Finland will scale up climate finance as a part of its development finance, taking due account of its contribution based on the Paris Agreement. The aim is to direct half the climate finance to climate change adaptation, for example through international funds and civil society organisations. Investment-based and loan-based finance will be continued, especially for the purpose of boosting climate finance.

Achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) requires not only public measures but also substantial private investments in developing countries’ climate actions and in their promotion of equality and creation of decent jobs. In its own development policy and in its actions within the EU, Finland will support an increase in both private funding and corporate involvement in regard to investments that promote sustainable development in the developing world. We will ensure that sufficient resources are budgeted for Finnfund, and will continue the use of development policy investments.  

Finland will contribute to improvements in the taxation systems of developing countries. 

Finland will engage in development cooperation in its priority areas on a long-term basis, covering the position and rights of women and girls; democracy and well-functioning societies; high-quality education and training; jobs and strengthening the economic base in developing countries; mitigating climate change and adapting to it; food security; water; renewable energy; and sustainable use of natural resources, including afforestation. Additional funding for development cooperation will be channelled to the priority areas referred to above.

In preparing development policy, Finland will pay special attention to implementing the rights of minorities and people in a vulnerable position and to their inclusion. In this process, Finland will make use of the expertise and skills of those who belong to these groups. 

Finland will increase its funding to those UN agencies and other areas of multilateral development cooperation that have proved to be efficient and effective, focusing on our priority areas. 

The level of funding for humanitarian assistance will be raised. 

The Government will carry out reforms that will improve the results and effectiveness of development cooperation. To promote policy coherence and effectiveness, guidelines applicable across parliamentary terms will be drafted for Finland's development policy.

Companies that receive development cooperation funds will be obligated to meet tax responsibility and transparency criteria, promote human rights and advance Finland’s development policy goals. 

Systematic measures will be taken to strengthen the civic space and facilitate civil society participation in Finland and globally. Funding for development cooperation projects aimed at civil society organisations will be stepped up.

The Foreign Ministry’s administrative resources will be strengthened.

Objective 4

Finland will increase partnerships with African countries

Africa’s significance as an EU neighbour and strategic partner is growing. Finland firmly supports to moving forward on the partnership negotiations between the African Union (AU) and the EU.

Measures

Finland will prepare a comprehensive Africa strategy, which will be based on the 2030 Agenda and will ensure coherence in Finland’s Africa policy. Finland will expand its political and economic interaction with African countries. 

The geographical focus of Finland’s development cooperation activities will be on Africa. Finland will direct its development cooperation funding towards tackling the root causes of migration.

Objective 5

Finland will promote open and fair trade

Finland will work actively to strengthen rules-based governance in the global economy, to increase equal treatment of countries, and to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda. Finland will encourage efforts to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO) system and will seek constructive solutions to end the crisis related to it.

Measures

Finland will work to strengthen the multilateral trade system built around the WTO and to expand the EU’s network of bilateral trade agreements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. 

Together with other Member States, Finland will actively call for an EU that remains open to international trade. Work will be done to help remove barriers to trade. 

Finland will aim to ensure that trade agreements concluded by the EU take sufficient account of their impact on the environment, sustainable development, equality, and the rights of women, girls and employees.

Finland will use its external relations to promote exports, looking especially at the expansion of SMEs into international markets, the integration of developing countries into the world economy, and attracting investments to Finland.  

Finland will work to develop a multilaterally regulated, fair and balanced system of investment agreements which supports the channelling of foreign direct investments (FDI) on the basis of sustainable development principles.  

In cooperation with the business sector, Finland will develop a binding regulatory framework on corporate responsibility as a part of the reform work under way in the UN and the OECD.

Eradicating aggressive tax planning, tax evasion and harmful tax competition will require cooperation both at the EU level and on a wider scale. Harmful tax incentives and other harmful tax competition must be identified and addressed effectively. Finland will play an active role in the EU, the OECD and the UN to counter aggressive tax planning, tax evasion and harmful tax competition. 

Asia’s significance in the global economy and in world politics is growing. Due consideration will be given to this at both at the national and EU level.

Objective 6

Finland will strengthen Arctic cooperation

The importance of the Arctic region has grown as a result of climate change, the increasing level of economic activity, the opening up of new transport connections, and the region's growing geopolitical significance.

Measures

The Government will prepare a new strategy on Arctic policy, which will set out Finland's long-term goals in the region and address the associated resource needs. Finland will assume a central role in building up the EU’s Arctic policy. 

In its Arctic cooperation, Finland will seek a stronger role for the Arctic Council and will support the work of the Arctic Economic Council. All activity in the Arctic region must be tied in with the capacity of nature to withstand it, the need to protect the climate, the importance of sustainable development principles, and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. 

Finland will promote the stability of the Arctic region and work to help keep the Arctic region free from military tensions.

Objective 7

Finland will bolster Nordic cohesion and Baltic cooperation

The Nordic countries are Finland’s most natural partners. The Nordic countries share similar values of democracy and openness and values concerning the welfare state. Finland supports the work of the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Measures

The Nordic countries must become the world’s best integrated area. Finland will aim to further facilitate the movement of citizens between the Nordic countries. Finland will work actively to remove existing cross-border barriers and will seek to ensure that whenever new legislation is drafted this will not create new cross-border barriers between the Nordic countries. 

Finland will also promote Nordic cooperation in the EU, the UN and other international forums. 

Nordic cooperation will focus on achieving practical results in areas such as leading the fight against climate change and in digitalisation and cultural and defence matters.

Foreign and security policy cooperation with Sweden will be strengthened. 

Finland will promote security policy stability in the Baltic Sea region and will strengthen Baltic cooperation together with the Nordic countries, Russia and the Baltic countries. The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and HELCOM are important forums in Baltic cooperation. 

For Finland, the main element of regional cooperation concerning the Baltic Sea is the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and the collaboration performed within the strategy framework. Finland’s aim is that the Baltic Sea should be clean and constitute a robust marine environment that is used sustainably. The aim is that the Baltic Sea region will take the lead in sustainable development and in the bioeconomy and circular economy. 

Regional and cross-border cooperation, including the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, will be taken into account in the process of planning the EU’s financing instruments for the 2021–2027 programming period.