Finland is unlike the fellow-Scandinavian neighbours, its people don't descend from the Germanic people but rather speak a language related to Estonia and some languages of Siberia. The country was a province and then a grand duchy in the time of hundreds of years under Swedish rule. After that in 1809 Russia takes over control for a further century before independence on 6 December 1917. The constitution was created in 1906. The finish government amended the constitution several times, last in 2011. Throughout the Cold War Finland's depended on the strong influence of the Soviet Union on its foreign and defence policy, a status dubbed "Finlandisation". But it successfully defended its independence through cooperation with Germany. The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s allowed Finland to apply for membership of the EU. In culture, Finland has made particular mark in the fields of architecture and music.
2. Facts and Figures
The finish living standard is one of the highest in the world. Despite its substantial size Finland is relatively thinly-populated with about 5.4 million people. Two-thirds of the country's territory is covered by forest and about a tenth by lakes. Most of the Finnish people are Lutheran, only one percent is Orthodox or Christian. The median age is about 43.2 years, tendency increasing, and the total fertility rate is 1.73 children born per woman. Finland's per capita income is among the highest in Western Europe. The country's migration rate lays about 0.62 migrants per 1,000 inhabitants; compared to the world this number is very little. Finland's capital is Helsinki in the south of the country. Its neighbouring countries are Norway, Sweden and Russia.
3. Domestic Policy
Finland's government type is a republic with a unicameral parliament and with a president. The modern welfare state has a civil law system based on the Swedish model. The President is directly elected by the people (Sauli Niinisto since March 2012) and the head of government is Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (since June 2011) from the National Coalition Party. The 200 representatives are elected every four years through proportional representation. The contemporary government coalition is build by six parties: National Coalition Party, Social Democratic Party, Green League, Swedish People's Party, Left Alliance and Christian Democrats. The government has three priority areas: Firstly the reduction of poverty. inequality and social exclusion, secondly consolidation of public finances and thirdly the strengthening of sustainable economic growth, employment and competitiveness. As its key projects, the government has identified the reform in local government structures, the social guarantee for young people and the fight against the shadow economy.
Compared to other EU member states Finland is a leader in energy and climate policy. The country seeks to secure access to reasonably affordable energy by putting in place a diversified energy programme, investing in renewable domestic energy, making wider use of the gas markets and cutting down on the use of mineral oil.
The country generally spends heavily on education, training and research. This is to be investment which will generate one of the best-qualified workforces in the world. The unemployed rate is about 8.1%.
4. Foreign Policy
During the Cold War era Finland's international position was strengthened throughout the acceptance as a member state in the UN. From the very beginning the United Nations became an important part of Finland's foreign policy. In light of the country's historical experience it felt to support an international system based on multilateralism and the Charter of the United Nations.
Most of Finland's objectives are related to the evolving partnership between Russia and the EU.
Finland supports the UN's Stop Rape Now initiative to stress the importance of women's participation in political processes in stopping sexual violence and building sustainable peace. The Finns talk about determination and cooperation is needed in implementation of Arms Trade Treaty. Finland has acted as one of the most determined supporters of the treaty ever since the beginning of the negotiations.
The country supports UNESCO's education and freedom of expression work in the poorest countries. The financing provided by Finland targets education of women and girls: Vocational and technical education and training, freedom of expression, free access to information, support for information society development and security of journalists. Finland likes a deeper integration in the European Union which would require decisionmaking on a more open and democratic basis. The country wants all member states to ensure that national measures are consistent with the common rules and objectives. Further the Finns see a need for more Europe and at the same time more national responsibility. The country holds that strengthening cooperation in the EU in the field of law enforcement is necessary to combat organised crime, irregular immigration and human trafficking. Finland agrees that the legislation on the common asylum system should be efficiently implemented in the EU member states. To improve stability, growth and employment, Europe should focus on more efficient provisions and implementation of legal immigration.
5. Membership in international organizations
The republic of Finland is member of several international organizations:
- 1955 UN: During the 50 years of membership, Finland's role in the UN has been more significant than its size might lead one to expect. Early participation in peacekeeping, which began 1956, earned Finland the title of a peacekeeping superpower at one point. Finland has also participated actively in the development of public international law, multilateral disarmament negotiations. Finland has twice been a member of the Security Council of the United Nations (in 1969-70 and again in 1989-90).
- 1956 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
- 1969 OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)
- 1995 G-9, WTO (World Trade Organization)
- 1995 EU: In 1995 Finland got a full member in the EU and now has 13 seats in the European Parliament and 7 voices in the European Council. Finland is committed to the single currency, strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union and supporting closer integration. A stronger, more unified and fairer Union will best serve the interests of Finland and its citizens. Key development areas include efforts with which to ensure respect for the Union's values and rules. Strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union and improve competitiveness, growth and employment and the social dimension, further develop a common energy policy, combat climate change and promote the free movement of people, enhance the Union's external actions and foster enlargement are Finland's goals for the EU. In future it will remain important to maintain the Union's unity.
These are not all of Finland's memberships in international organizations but may the most important ones.
- Quote paper
- Bettina Grünleitner (Author), 2014, Country Profile: Suomi/Finland. History, Domestic and Foreign Policy, International Organizations, Economy, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/594734