Foreign relations of Finland

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Coat of arms of Finland.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Finland

The foreign relations of Finland are the responsibility of the president of Finland, who leads foreign policy in cooperation with the government. Implicitly the government is responsible for internal policy and decision making in the European Union. Within the government, preparative discussions are conducted in the government committee of foreign and security policy (ulko- ja turvallisuuspoliittinen ministerivaliokunta), which includes the Prime Minister and at least the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Defence, and at most four other ministers as necessary.[1] The committee meets with the President as necessary. Laws concerning foreign relations are discussed in the parliamentary committee of foreign relations (ulkoasiainvaliokunta, utrikesutskottet). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs implements the foreign policy.

During the Cold War, Finland's foreign policy was based on official neutrality between the Western powers and the Soviet Union, while simultaneously stressing Nordic cooperation in the framework of the Nordic Council and cautious economic integration with the West as promoted by the Bretton-Woods Agreement and the free trade treaty with the European Economic Community. Finland shares this history with close neighbour Sweden, which Finland was a part of until the split of the Swedish empire in 1809. Finland did not join the Soviet Union's economic sphere (Comecon) but remained a free-market economy and conducted bilateral trade with the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Finland unilaterally abrogated the last restrictions imposed on it by the Paris peace treaties of 1947 and the Finno-Soviet Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance. The government filed an application for membership in the European Union (EU) three months after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and became a member in 1995. Finland did not attempt to join NATO, even though post-Soviet countries on the Baltic Sea and elsewhere joined. Nevertheless, defence policymakers have quietly converted to NATO equipment and contributed troops.

President Martti Ahtisaari and the coalition governments led Finland closer to the core EU in the late 1990s. Finland was considered a cooperative model state, and Finland did not oppose proposals for a common EU defence policy.[2] This was reversed in the 2000s, when Tarja Halonen and Erkki Tuomioja made Finland's official policy to resist other EU members' plans for common defense.[2] However, Halonen allowed Finland to join European Union Battlegroups in 2006 and the NATO Response Force in 2008.

Relations with Russia are cordial and common issues include bureaucracy (particularly at the Vaalimaa border crossing), airspace violations, development aid Finland gives to Russia (especially in environmental problems that affect Finland), and Finland's energy dependency on Russian gas and electricity. Behind the scenes, the administration has witnessed a resurrection of Soviet-era tactics. The National Security Agency, Finnish Security Intelligence Service, estimates that the known number of Russian agents from Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and GRU now exceeds Cold War levels and there are unknown numbers of others.[3]

As of March 2011 Finland maintains diplomatic relations with all UN member states.[4]

History[edit]

President of Latvia Jānis Čakste and President of Finland Lauri Kristian Relander during Relander's 1926 official visit to Latvia. In the background, the Foreign Minister of Finland Eemil Nestor Setälä to the right.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016

After independence from Russia in 1917, the Finnish Civil War, including interventions by Imperial Germany and Soviet Russia, and failure of the Communist revolution, resulted in the official ban on Communism, and strengthening relations with Western countries. Overt alliance with Germany was not possible due to the result of the First World War, but in general the period of 1918 to 1939 was characterised by economic growth and increasing integration to the Western world economy. Relations with Soviet Russia from 1918 to 1939 were icy; voluntary expeditions to Russia called heimosodat ended only in 1922, four years after the conclusion of the Finnish Civil War. However, attempts to establish military alliances were unsuccessful. Thus, when the Winter War broke out, Finland was left alone to resist the Soviet attack. Later, during the Continuation War, Finland declared "co-belligerency" with Nazi Germany, and allowed Northern Finland to be used as a German attack base. The peace settlement in 1944 with the Soviet Union led to the Lapland War in 1945, where Finland fought Germans in northern Finland.

From the end of the Continuation War with the Soviet Union in 1944 until 1991, the policy was to avoid superpower conflicts and to build mutual confidence with the Western powers and the Soviet Union. Although the country was culturally, socially, and politically Western, Finns realised they had to live in peace with the USSR and take no action that might be interpreted as a security threat. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 opened up dramatic new possibilities for Finland and has resulted in the Finns actively seeking greater participation in Western political and economic structures. The popular support for the strictly self-defensive doctrine remains.

2000 constitution[edit]

In the 2000 constitution, where diverse constitutional laws were unified into one statute, the leading role of the President was slightly moderated. However, because the constitution still stipulates only that the President leads foreign policy and the government internal policy, the responsibility over European Union affairs is not explicitly resolved. Implicitly this belongs to the powers of the government. In a cohabitation situation as with Matti Vanhanen's recent second government right-wing government and left-wing President Tarja Halonen, there can be friction between government ministers and the president.

The arrangement has been criticised by Risto E. J. Penttilä for not providing a simple answer of who's in charge.[2]

Multilateral relations[edit]

Finnish foreign policy emphasises its participation in multilateral organisations. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955 and the European Union in 1995. As noted, the country also is a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace as well as an observer in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. The military has been prepared to be more compatible with NATO, as co-operation with NATO in peacekeeping is needed, but military alliance does not have popular support.

In the European Union, Finland is a member of the Eurozone, and in addition, the Schengen treaty abolishing passport controls. 60% of foreign trade is to the EU. Other large trade partners are Russia and the United States.

Finland is well represented in the UN civil service in proportion to its population and belongs to several of its specialised and related agencies. Finnish troops have participated in United Nations peacekeeping activities since 1956, and the Finns continue to be one of the largest per capita contributors of peacekeepers in the world. Finland is an active participant in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and in early 1995 assumed the co-chairmanship of the OSCE's Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Cooperation with the other Scandinavian countries also is important to Finland, and it has been a member of the Nordic Council since 1955. Under the council's auspices, the Nordic countries have created a common labor market and have abolished immigration controls among themselves. The council also serves to coordinate social and cultural policies of the participating countries and has promoted increased cooperation in many fields.

In addition to the organisations already mentioned, Finland is a member of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the International Finance Corporation, the International Development Association, the Bank for International Settlements, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Council of Europe, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Finland has moved steadily towards integration into Western institutions and abandoned its formal policy of neutrality, which has been recast as a policy of military nonalliance coupled with the maintenance of a credible, independent defence. Finland's 1994 decision to buy 64 F-18 Hornet fighter planes from the United States signalled the abandonment of the country's policy of balanced arms purchases from Communist countries and Western countries.

In 1994, Finland joined NATO's Partnership for Peace; the country is also an observer in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. Finland became a full member of the EU in January 1995, at the same time acquiring observer status in the EU's defence arm, the Western European Union.

Generally, Finland has abided by the principle of neutrality and has good relations with nearly all countries, as evidenced by the freedom of travel that a Finnish passport gives.

Diplomatic relations list[edit]

Diplomatic relations of Finland

Finland has established diplomatic relations with all United Nations member states, plus the Holy See and Kosovo.[5]

# Country Date[5]
1  Sweden 10 January 1918
1  Denmark 10 January 1918
3  Norway 6 April 191810 June 1940
October 1945
4  Argentina 11 May 1918[6]
5  Japan 24 May 191822 September 1944
8 March 1957
6  Austria 19 July 191812 March 1938
29 March 1949
6  Bulgaria 19 July 191820 September 1944
4 June 1948
8  Netherlands 14 August 1918
9  Spain 16 August 1918
10  Greece 1 March 1919
11  Poland 8 March 1919[7]24 June 1941
October 1945
12  France 191924 June 1940
October 1945
13 United Kingdom Britain 28 March 19191 August 1941
15 September 1945
14  United States 30 May 191930 June 1944
18 August 1945
15  Belgium 9 July 1919
16  Italy 6 September 1919
17  Portugal 10 January 1920
18  Romania 28 June 192020 September 1944
14 October 1949
19  Russia 31 December 192029 November 1939
31 December 194029 November 1941
6 August 1945
20  Luxembourg 24 October 1921
21  Hungary 12 April 192220 September 1944
3 October 1947
22  Turkey 9 December 1924[8]
23   Switzerland 29 January 1926
24  Serbia 1928[9]
25  Brazil 8 April 1929
26  Afghanistan 15 December 1930
11 May 1956
27  Iran 1931[10]
28  Chile 20 February 1931
29  Uruguay 21 March 1935
30  Mexico 2 October 1936
31  Holy See 31 July 1942[11]
32  Egypt 15 February 1947
33  Iceland 15 August 1947
34  Canada 21 November 1947
35  South Africa 15 May 1949
36  Australia 31 May 1949
37  India 10 September 1949
38  New Zealand 22 July 1950
39  China 28 October 1950
40  Israel 14 November 1950
41  Pakistan 12 January 1951
42  Syria 22 May 1953
43  Colombia 26 March 1954
44  Venezuela 31 March 1954
45  Myanmar 21 June 1954
46  Thailand 21 June 1954
47  Indonesia 6 September 1954
48  Sri Lanka 24 September 1954
49  Philippines 14 July 1955
50  Lebanon 21 June 1956
51  Albania 8 June 1956
52  Cuba 23 January 1959
53  Iraq 15 May 1959
54  Ethiopia 17 July 1959
54  Morocco 17 July 1959
54  Tunisia 17 July 1959
57  Jordan 28 November 1959
58  Cameroon 15 January 1960
59  Chad 12 August 1960
60  Mali 7 October 1960
61  Sudan 27 January 1961
62  Guinea 19 July 1961
63  Cyprus 2 September 1961
64  Ireland 2 November 1961
65  Algeria 18 January 1963
66  Nigeria 18 January 1963
67  Peru 29 March 1963
68  Mongolia 8 July 1963
69  Bolivia 21 September 1963
70  Paraguay 20 November 1963
70  Ivory Coast 18 June 1964
72  Malawi 13 July 1964
73  Ecuador 5 February 1965
74  Kenya 14 June 1965
74  Tanzania 14 June 1965
74  Uganda 14 June 1965
77  Libya 28 September 1965
78  Costa Rica 23 August 1966
79  Haiti 29 September 1966
80  Republic of the Congo 22 March 1967
81  El Salvador 14 April 1967
82  Guatemala 18 August 1967
83  Zambia 8 March 1968
84  Senegal 31 January 1969
85  Kuwait 21 February 1969
85  Malta 21 February 1969
87  Saudi Arabia 6 June 1969
88  Cambodia 20 January 1970
9 August 1976
89  Liberia 24 March 1970
90  Democratic Republic of the Congo 3 April 1970
91  Central Africa 22 May 1970
92  Somalia 12 March 1971
93  Trinidad and Tobago 17 December 1971
94  Bangladesh 5 May 1972
95  Malaysia 17 November 1972
96  Germany 7 January 1973
97  Vietnam 25 January 1973
98  Singapore 7 February 1973
99  Oman 1 April 1973
100  North Korea 1 June 1973
101  South Korea 24 August 1973
102  Mauritius 31 October 1973
103  Qatar 1 April 1974
104  Guinea-Bissau 9 August 1974
105    Nepal 21 September 1974
106  Bahrain 20 December 1974
107  Laos 1 January 1975
107  Panama 1 January 1975
109  United Arab Emirates 21 February 1975
110  Mozambique 18 July 1975
111  Niger 28 November 1975
112  Nicaragua 22 December 1975
113  Honduras 30 January 1976
114  Angola 18 September 1976
115  Madagascar 1 June 1977
116  Papua New Guinea 31 September 1977
117  Barbados 1 December 1977
117  Fiji 1 December 1977
117  Ghana 1 December 1977
117  Jamaica 1 December 1977
121  Comoros 19 December 1977
122  Botswana 1 July 1978
123  Lesotho 1 February 1979
123  Mauritania 1 March 1979
125  São Tomé and Príncipe 1 March 1979
126  Guyana 2 April 1979
127  Yemen 1 June 1979
128  Kiribati 24 August 1979
129  Burundi 1 January 1980
130  Burkina Faso 15 February 1980
131  Grenada 1 June 1980
132  Vanuatu 31 July 1980
133  Zimbabwe 1 August 1980
134  Rwanda 1 June 1983
135  Cape Verde 22 July 1983
136  Dominican Republic 2 January 1984
137  Maldives 10 August 1984
138  Bhutan 1 May 1986
139  Seychelles 1 April 1987
140  Gabon 20 May 1988
141  Gambia 1 September 1988
142  Brunei 11 November 1988
143  Benin 22 December 1988
144  Namibia 21 March 1990
145  Eswatini 20 September 1990
146  Estonia 7 June 1920June 1940
29 August 1991
146  Latvia 16 January 1921June 1940
29 August 1991
146  Lithuania 14 October 1921June 1940
29 August 1991
149  Slovenia 17 February 1992
150  Croatia 19 February 1992
151  Belarus 26 February 1992
151  Moldova 26 February 1992
151  Tajikistan 26 February 1992
151  Ukraine 26 February 1992
151  Uzbekistan 26 February 1992
156  Kyrgyzstan 23 March 1992
157  Azerbaijan 24 March 1992
158  Armenia 25 March 1992
159  Kazakhstan 13 May 1992
160  Turkmenistan 11 June 1992
161  Liechtenstein 26 June 1992
162  Georgia 8 July 1992
163  Czechia 1 January 1993
163  Slovakia 1 January 1993
165  Eritrea 28 May 1993
166  Tonga 1 December 1993
167  North Macedonia 17 December 1993
168  Marshall Islands 26 December 1993
169  Bosnia and Herzegovina 29 December 1994
170  Andorra 17 July 1995
170  San Marino 17 July 1995
172  Belize 19 June 1997
173  Solomon Islands 16 July 1999
174  Samoa 11 August 1999
175  East Timor 20 June 2002
176  Suriname 28 June 2005
177  Bahamas 2 December 2005
178  Montenegro 12 June 2006
179  Djibouti 14 March 2007
180  Monaco 29 March 2007
181  Equatorial Guinea 30 April 2008
182  Sierra Leone 17 June 2008
183  Antigua and Barbuda 26 September 2008
184  Kosovo 3 February 2009
185  Tuvalu 6 March 2009
186  Nauru 24 March 2009
187  Palau 5 May 2009
188  Dominica 19 August 2009
189  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 11 September 2009
190  Saint Kitts and Nevis 22 September 2009
190  Saint Lucia 22 September 2009
192  Micronesia 4 May 2010
193  Togo 12 May 2010
194  South Sudan 29 June 2012[12]

Africa[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Algeria 18 January 1963
  • Algeria is represented in Finland through its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland has an embassy in Algiers.
 Angola 18 September 1976
  • Angola is represented in Finland through its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland is represented in Angola through its embassy in Maputo, Mozambique.
  • Finland also has an honorary consulate in Luanda.
 Botswana 1 July 1978
  • Botswana is represented in Finland through its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland is represented in Angola through its embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in Gaborone.
 Burkina Faso 1 July 1978
  • Burkina Faso is represented in Finland through its embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark.
 Burundi 1 January 1980
  • Burundi is represented in Finland through its embassy in Oslo, Norway.
  • Finland is represented in Angola through its embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
 Comoros

Comoros is represented in Finland by its embassy in Paris, France[13].

 Djibouti 14 March 2007
 Ethiopia July 17, 1959 See Ethiopia–Finland relations

Ethiopia is represented in Finland through its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. Finland has an embassy in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is one of Finland's long-term development partners and in the water and education sectors.[16] On April 29, 2009, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development announced that the Finnish government had made a grant of 11.4 million euros to enable the Benishangul-Gumuz Region to upgrade its capacity to plan and manage its rural water supply and sanitation program to achieve universal access for all Ethiopians.[17]

 Kenya 14 June 1965
 Morocco 17 July 1959
 Mozambique 18 July 1975
 Namibia 21 March 1990 See Finland–Namibia relations

Finland recognised Namibia on March 21, 1990. Both countries established diplomatic relations on the same day. Namibia is represented in Finland through its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. Finland has an embassy in Windhoek and an honorary consulate in Walvis Bay.

 South Africa 15 May 1949 See Finland – South Africa relations

A South African legation was established in 1967 and relations were then upgraded to ambassadorial level in March 1991.[19] Finland has an embassy in Pretoria, a general consulate in Johannesburg, and a consulate in Cape Town. South Africa has an embassy in Helsinki.[19] During World War II South Africa declared war on Finland.[20]

Finland was a strong supporter of the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa.[20][21][22]

South African exports to Finland include fresh and dried fruits, wine, pulp, paper, iron, steel, and coal. South Africa imports telecommunication equipment, paper, board products, and machinery from Finland.[19]

 Tanzania 14 June 1965
 Tunisia 17 July 1959
 Zambia 8 March 1968

Americas[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Antigua and Barbuda 26 September 2008
  • Finland's embassy in Mexico City, Mexico attends to consular matters relating to Antigua and Barbuda.
 Argentina 11 May 1918 See Argentina–Finland relations
 Bahamas 2 December 2005
  • Finland's embassy in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada attends to consular matters relating to The Bahamas.
  • Finland also has an honorary consulate in Nassau.
 Barbados 1 December 1977
  • Barbados is represented in Finland by their embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate general in Christ Church.
 Belize 19 June 1997
  • Finland's embassy in Mexico City, Mexico attends to consular matters relating to Belize.
  • Finland also has an honorary consulate in Belize City.
 Bolivia 21 September 1963
  • Bolivia is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland is accredited to Bolivia from its embassy in Lima, Peru.
 Brazil 26 December 1919
  • Brazil has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland has an embassy in Brasília.
 Canada 21 November 1947 See Canada–Finland relations
  • Canada has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland has an embassy in Ottawa.
 Chile 17 June 1919 See Chile–Finland relations

Chile recognised Finland's independence on June 17, 1919. Diplomatic relations between them were established in 1931 and have been continuously maintained, despite pressures at times to discontinue them.[26] The two countries maintain resident ambassadors in both capitals.[26]

  • Chile has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland has an embassy in Santiago.
 Colombia 26 May 1954
  • Colombia has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland has an embassy in Bogotá.

The relations between Colombia and Finland are harmonious as both countries share a similar ideology based on democracy, human rights and a lasting peace. It's because of this that Colombia has decided to open an embassy in Helsinki. Colombia also defines Finland as a key player on Colombia's accession into the OECD and the ratification of the Colombia-European Union Trade Agreement.[27]

 Costa Rica 23 August 1966
  • Costa Rica is represent in Finland by their embassy in Oslo, Norway.
  • Finland's embassy in Mexico City, Mexico attends to consular matters relating to Costa Rica.
  • Finland also has an honorary consulate general and honorary vice-consulate in San José.
 Cuba 23 January 1959
  • Cuba has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland's embassy in Mexico City, Mexico attends to consular matters relating to Cuba.
  • Finland also has an honorary consulate general in Havana.
 Dominica 18 August 2009
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in Roseau.
 Dominican Republic 2 January 1984
  • The Dominican Republic is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate general in Santo Domingo.
 Ecuador 5 February 1965
  • Ecuador is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland's embassy in Lima, Peru attends to consular matters relating to Ecuador.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in Guayaquil and Quito.
 El Salvador 14 April 1967
  • El Salvador is represented in Finland by their embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland's embassy in Mexico City, Mexico attends to consular matters relating to El Salvador.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate and an honorary vice-consulate in San Salvador.
 Grenada 1 June 1980
  • Grenada is represented in Finland by their embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in St. George's.
 Guatemala 18 August 1967
  • Guatemala is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in Guatemala City.
 Guyana 2 April 1979
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations on April 2, 1979.[28]
  • Guyana is represented in Finland by their embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Finland also has an honorary consulate general in Georgetown.
 Haiti 29 September 1966
  • Finland's embassy in Mexico City, Mexico attends to consular matters relating to Haiti.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate general in Port-au-Prince.
 Honduras 30 January 1976
  • Honduras is represented in Finland by their embassy in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Finland's embassy in Mexico City, Mexico attends to consular matters relating to Honduras.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate general in Tegucigalpa and an honorary consulate in San Pedro Sula.
 Jamaica 1 December 1977
  • Jamaica is represented in Finland by their embassy in London, United Kingdom.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate general in Kingston.
 Mexico 2 October 1936 See Finland–Mexico relations

Mexico recognized the independence of Finland in July 1920.

 Nicaragua 22 December 1975 See Finland–Nicaragua relations
  • Finland is accredited to Nicaragua from its embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.[31]
  • Nicaragua has an embassy in Helsinki.[32]
 Panama 1 December 1975
  • Panama is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland's embassy in Mexico City, Mexico attends to consular matters relating to Panama.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate general in Panama City.
 Paraguay 20 November 1963
  • Paraguay is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland's embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina attends to consular matters relating to Paraguay.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in Asunción.
 Peru 29 March 1963
  • Peru has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland has an embassy in Lima.
 Saint Kitts and Nevis 22 September 2009
 Saint Lucia 22 September 2009
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in Castries.
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 30 January 1976
  • Finland is represented in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines through a roving ambassador[33].
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in Kingstown[34].
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is represented in Finland through it embassy in London[35].
 Suriname 28 June 2005
  • Finland's embassy in Brasília, Brazil attends to consular matters relating to Suriname.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate in Paramaribo.
 Trinidad and Tobago 17 December 1971
  • Trinidad and Tobago is accredited to Finland from its embassy in London, United Kingdom.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate general in Barataria.
 United States 30 May 1919[36] See Finland–United States relations

Relations between the United States and Finland are warm. Some 200,000 US citizens visit Finland annually, and about 3,000 US citizens are resident there. The US has an educational exchange program in Finland that is comparatively large for a Western European country of Finland's size. It is financed in part from a trust fund established in 1976 from Finland's final repayment of a US loan made in the aftermath of World War I.

Finland is bordered on the east by Russia and, as one of the former Soviet Union's neighbours, has been of particular interest and importance to the US both during the Cold War and in its aftermath. Before the USSR dissolved in 1991, longstanding US policy was to support Finnish neutrality while maintaining and reinforcing Finland's historic, cultural, and economic ties with the West. The US has welcomed Finland's increased participation since 1991 in Western economic and political structures.

Economic and trade relations between Finland and the United States are active and were bolstered by the F-18 purchase. US-Finland trade totals almost $5 billion annually. The US receives about 7% of Finland's exports – mainly wood pulp and paper, ships, machinery, electronics and instruments and refined petroleum products[37] – and provides about 7% of its imports – principally computers, semiconductors, aircraft, and machinery.

 Uruguay 21 March 1935
  • Uruguay has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland's embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina attends to consular matters relating to Uruguay.
  • Finland has an honorary consulate general in Montevideo.
 Venezuela 31 March 1954
  • Finland is accredited to Venezuela from its embassy in Bogotá, Colombia.
  • Venezuela is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Oslo, Norway.

Asia[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Afghanistan 11 May 1956
 Armenia 25 March 1992
  • Finland recognised Armenia on December 30, 1991.
  • Armenia is represented in Finland by a non-resident ambassador (based in Yerevan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
  • Finland is represented in Armenia by a non-resident ambassador (based in Helsinki at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and an honorary consulate in Yerevan.
  • Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: relations with Armenia
 China October 28, 1950[40] See China–Finland relations

The two international trade organisations are the Finland-China Trade Association and the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). One of the fastest growing areas of trade between the two countries is in environmental protection.[8][9] and information technology. Nokia is the largest Finnish investor in China.

 Georgia 8 July 1992
 India 10 September 1949
 Indonesia 6 September 1954
 Iran See Finland–Iran relations
 Israel 14 November 1950 See Finland–Israel relations
 Japan 6 September 1919
 Kazakhstan 13 May 1992[49]

See Finland–Kazakhstan relations

  • Finland recognized Kazakhstan upon its independence from the Soviet Union.
  • Finland has an embassy in Nur-Sultan.
  • Kazakhstan has an embassy in Helsinki.
 Malaysia 17 November 1972[50] See Finland–Malaysia relations
   Nepal 30 August 1955
 North Korea 1 June 1973[53] See Finland–North Korea relations
  • Finland recognized the People's Democratic Republic of Korea on April 13, 1973.[54]
  • Finland condemns North Korean nuclear tests and fully agrees with EU foreign policy statements on this matter.[54]
  • International trade has been irregular and sporadic, and it is controlled by UN and EU sanctions.[55]
  • Finland has contributed to humanitarian assistance to North Korea through the Red Cross and the World Food Programme.[55]
  • Neither Finland nor North Korea currently have resident ambassadors. North Korea is represented by the North Korean embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.[55] Finland is represented by the Finnish embassy in Seoul, South Korea.[56]
 Pakistan January 12, 1951 See Finland–Pakistan relations
  • Finland is accredited to Pakistan from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs based in Helsinki.
  • Pakistan is accredited to Pakistan from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
 Saudi Arabia 23 September 1969
 South Korea 24 August 1973
  • The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Finland and the South Korea began on 1973-08-24.
  • Finland recognised South Korea on April 13, 1973.
  • Finland has an embassy in Seoul.[59]
  • South Korea has an embassy in Helsinki.[60]
 Syria 22 May 1953
 Thailand 21 June 1954
 Turkey 20 May 1920
 Vietnam 5 January 1973

Europe[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Austria 29 March 1949
  • Austria has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland has an embassy in Vienna.
 Bulgaria 5 August 1918
 Croatia 19 February 1992
  • Croatia has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland has an embassy in Zagreb.
 Cyprus 2 September 1961
 Czech Republic 1 January 1993
  • Czech Republic has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Finland has an embassy in Prague.
 Denmark 18 February 1918

Denmark and Finland share a long history, where Danish vikings settled in Finland and made crusades. Both countries were also part of the Kalmar Union.[71] Denmark was the first country along with Sweden to recognize Finland's Independence.

There are 3,000 Finns living in Denmark, and 1,235 Danes living in Finland. During Winter War, over 1,000 Danish volunteers came to help Finland.[72] During the Winter war and the Continuation war, Denmark took 4,200 Finnish war children.[73] Exports to Denmark value at 1.380 billion euros, and imports from Denmark value at 1.453 billion, making Denmark Finland's 10th largest import-trading partner. The Nordic Culture Fund and the Finnish-Danish Cultural Fund support projects of artists in both countries. Many tourists from Finland visit Denmark, 206,000 in 2017, and vice versa: 113,000 Danish tourists visited Finland in 2017. In 1918 Mannerheim visited Copenhagen, asking if Prince Aage would of wanted to become the King of Finland.

 Estonia 29 August 1991

Finland's main language, Finnish, is related to Estonian, and there is and has been a certain feeling of kinship. 76% of Finns have visited Estonia and in 2004, 1.8 million Finns reported visiting Estonia. Finnish and Swedish investors are the largest foreign investors in Estonia.[74] Finland and Estonia are members of the European Union and the Schengen agreement, freeing international travel and trade between the countries.

Finland's government recognised Estonia's independence in 1920. In response to the Soviet invasion, diplomatic missions were de facto removed. However, when Estonia declared independence, this "temporary obstruction" was resolved. Both countries restored diplomatic relations on August 29, 1991.

Finland contributed and continues to contribute military aid to Estonia, e.g., training of officers, provision of equipment.

 France 24 January 1918
 Germany 4 January 1918
 Hungary 20 May 1947
 Iceland 15 August 1947 See Finland–Iceland relations
  • Finland has an embassy in Reykjavík.[79]
  • Iceland has an embassy in Helsinki.[80]
  • Both countries are full members of the Nordic Council and the Nordic Passport Union, with no border controls or limitations on travel and residence. On cases concerning an individual, authorities must arrange translations between Finnish and Icelandic, if necessary.
 Ireland 2 November 1961
 Italy 6 September 1919
 Kosovo 3 February 2009

Finland recognised Kosovo March 7, 2008.[85][86] Finland maintains an embassy in Pristina.[87]

 Latvia 24 September 1919
 Lithuania 4 November 1919
 Luxembourg 25 October 1921
 Netherlands 18 August 1918
 Norway 6 April 1918 See Finland–Norway relations
 Poland 8 March 1919 See Finland–Poland relations
 Portugal 10 January 1920
 Romania 14 October 1949
 Russia 30 December 1991

Relations with Russia are peaceful and friendly. Finland imports a lot of goods and basic necessities, such as fuel, and the two nations are agreeing on issues more than disagreeing on them.

Finland was a part of the Russian Empire for 108 years, after being annexed from the Swedish empire. Discontent with Russian rule, Finnish national identity, and World War I eventually caused Finland to break away from Russia, taking advantage of the fact that Russia was withdrawing from World War I and a revolution was starting in earnest. Following the Finnish Civil War and October revolution, Russians were virtually equated with Communists and due to official hostility to Communism, Finno-Soviet relations in the period between the world wars remained tense. Voluntary activists arranged expeditions to Karelia (heimosodat), which ended when Finland and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty of Tartu in 1920. However, the Soviet Union did not abide by the treaty when they blockaded Finnish naval ships. Finland was attacked by the USSR in 1939. Finland fought the Winter War and the Continuation War against the Soviet Union in World War II. During these wars the Finns suffered 90,000 casualties and inflicted severe casualties on the Russians (120,000 dead in the Winter War and 200,000 in the Continuation War).

Contemporary issues include problems with border controls causing persistent truck queues at the border, airspace violations, pollution of the Baltic Sea, and Russian duties on exported wood to Finland's pulp and paper industry. Russia also considered large swathes of land near the Finnish border as special security area where foreign land ownership is forbidden. A similarly extensive restriction does not apply to Russian citizens. The Finnish Defence Forces and Finnish Security Intelligence Service have suspected that Russians have made targeted land purchases near military and other sensitive installations for intelligence or special operations purposes.[96][97] Right-wing commentators accuse the government of continuing the policy of Finlandisation.

Recently, Finland-Russia relations have been under pressure with annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, which Finland considers illegal. Together with the rest of the European Union, Finland enforces sanctions against Russia that followed. Still, economic relations have not entirely deteriorated: 11.2% of imports to Finland are from Russia, and 5.7% of exports from Finland are to Russia, and cooperation between Finnish and Russian authorities continues.[98]

 Serbia 1929
 Slovakia 1 January 1993
 Slovenia 17 February 1992
  • Finland recognised Slovenia on January 17, 1992.
  • Finland has an embassy in Ljubljana.
  • Slovenia has an embassy in Helsinki.
  • Both countries are full members of the European Union.

Tensions between the countries rose in late 2008 when a news program on Finland's national broadcasting company station YLE accused Finnish weapons manufacturer Patria of bribing Slovenian officials to secure an arms deal. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa formally complained to the Finnish ambassador in Ljubljana.[102] This controversy became known as the Patria case.

 Spain 16 August 1918 See Finland–Spain relations
 Sweden 10 January 1918

Finland and Sweden have always had very close relations, resulting from shared history, numerous commonalities in society and politics, and close trade relations. A newly appointed Foreign Minister makes his or her first state visit to Sweden. Finnish politicians often consider Sweden's reaction to international affairs first as a base for further actions, and thus finally both countries often agree on such issues. If there has ever been any dissonance between the two countries those were the Åland question in the early 1920s and the Swedish declaration of non-belligerent status during the Winter War. Finland and Sweden are members of the European Union and the Schengen agreement, freeing international travel and trade between the countries. Furthermore, both participate in the Nordic Council, which grants Swedish nationals slightly more extensive rights than the EU/Schengen treaties alone.

  • Finland has an embassy in Stockholm.
  • Sweden has an embassy in Helsinki.
 Ukraine 26 February 1992
 United Kingdom 6 May 1919[36]

Oceania[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Australia 31 May 1949

Diplomatic relations were established on May 31, 1949.

  • Australia is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Finland has an embassy in Canberra and a consulate in Sydney.
 New Zealand 22 July 1950
  • Finland is accredited to New Zealand from its embassy in Canberra, Australia.
  • New Zealand is accredited to Finland from its embassy in The Hague, Netherlands.

International organization participation[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]