Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
Official name of the country: Republic of Finland (Suomen tasavalta, Republiken Finland)
President: Sauli Niinistö (in office since 1/3/2012, second term since 1/3/2018)
Composition of the government:
The current government was appointed by the president on 10/12/2019. The majority government consists of a coalition of five parties: the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Center, the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People’s Party (ŠLS).
- Sanna Marin (SDP), Prime Minister
- Tytti Tuppurainen (SDP), Minister for European Affairs and State Property Management
- Annika Saarikko (Centre), Minister of Finance
- Pekka Haavisto (Greens), Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Ville Skinnari (SDP), Minister of Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade
- Krista Mikkonen (Greens), Minister of the Interior
- Tuula Haatainen (SDP), Minister of Labour
- Mika Lintilä (Centre), Minister for Economic Affairs
- Anna-Maja Henriksson (ŠLS), Minister of Justice
- Thomas Blomqvist (ŠLS), Minister for Equality and Nordic Cooperation
- Antti Kaikkonen (Centre), Minister of Defense
- Li Andersson (Left Union), Minister of Education
- Petri Honkonen (Center), Minister of Culture and Science
- Emma Kari (Greens), Minister of the Environment and Climate
- Sirpa Paatero (SDP), Minister for Municipalities
- Aki Lindén (SDP), Minister for Family and Basic Services
- Timo Harakka (SDP), Minister of Transport and Communications
- Antti Kurvinen (Centre), Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
- Hanna Sarkkinen (Left Union), Minister of Health
System of governance and political tendencies:
For the past twenty years, Finland has been a parliamentary democracy (although the move from a semi-presidential system to a parliamentary one began in the 1980s) with very limited powers of the president, who has a major role only in foreign policy (non-EU affairs). Check computerminus to learn more about Finland political system.
A typical feature of Finland’s political system is the functioning of majority governments based on coalitions. Coalition cooperation in Finland is not a question of dividing into right-wing and left-wing blocs – on the contrary, right-wing and left-wing parties have cooperated in many governments. The current government is made up of 3 left-wing parties (SDP, Zelení, Levicový svaz) and two center or center-right parties (Střed, ŠLS).
Political stability is disturbed from time to time by disputes between left-wing parties and centrists (formerly agrarians, traditionally one of the strongest parties in Finland). The center has disagreements with the government over economic and employment policy. Also problematic are some of the government’s environmental measures, which are unpopular with rural Central voters. In the last year, the opposition National Coalition Party, which holds the position of the strongest party since the municipal elections in June 2021, has significantly strengthened. On the contrary, the opposition party True Finns, which has enjoyed increasing popularity since 2019, has significantly weakened after unsuccessful municipal and regional elections.
The next regular date for parliamentary elections is April 2, 2023.
Foreign policy of the country
Finland’s foreign policy is defined by membership in the EU, partnership with NATO, neighborhood with Russia, traditional partnership with Sweden, and the historical (establishment of the Republic of Finland) and current role of Germany (Finland’s entry into the EU and political and trade partnership within the EU membership). Finland’s democratic tradition and existence itself date back to the founding of Czechoslovakia. Thematically, Finnish foreign policy focuses on security, multilateralism, human rights and climate protection. Check relationshipsplus for Finland defense and foreign policy.
For Finland, the EU is an economic and security community and the basic framework for foreign policy. Finland reacts to sensitive foreign policy topics (e.g. acceptance of sanctions or human rights violations) at the EU level rather than bilaterally. Finland’s priorities in the EU’s foreign and security policy include strengthening the ability to act and the global role of the EU, enforcing qualified majority decision-making within the framework of the common foreign and security policy, strengthening the importance of the common security and defense policy and, last but not least, upholding common values and respecting the principles of the rule of law existing differences, e.g. in the field of migration, human rights or Middle Eastern issues.
The long-term importance of the security dimension of the EU stems from the fact that Finland is not yet a member of NATO, although there is currently a very fundamental debate in this direction based on a sharp change in the security environment and the subsequent radical change in the public’s attitude. In public opinion polls, support for NATO membership practically doubled after the start of the Russian accord against Ukraine, exceeding 50% for the first time in history, and continues to grow. A similarly fundamental change has also taken place on the political scene, where cross-party agreement and the statements of individual politicians and constitutional officials signal that it is no longer a question of if, but rather when and how Finland’s entry into NATO will take place. Finland’s most important bilateral security and defense partner is Sweden, but security ties with the USA also play a key role. which further deepened the decision to purchase F-35 fighter jets. Cooperation with the UK is also important, e.g. within the JEF, recently trilateral cooperation Finland-Sweden-Norway is gaining importance.
The neighborhood with Russia has long influenced Finland’s foreign policy, as a result of which the country has taken a very cautious public stance on issues that could be perceived by Russia as provocative. Until now, Finnish representatives held the opinion that it was necessary to talk with Russia, and Finland was the only Nordic state whose representatives regularly met and negotiated with their Russian counterparts at a high (especially presidential) level. However, as a result of the attack on Ukraine, Finland not only fully supported anti-Russian sanctions, but also expelled a limited number of Russian diplomats and took the unprecedented step of supplying arms to Ukraine. In the framework of bilateral relations with Russia, Finland has traditionally focused on the topics of transport, the environment and nuclear energy, but in the current situation cooperation has been frozen in most areas, while it is unlikely that
Number of inhabitants and population density:
Finland has a population of 5,550,066 (data from February 2022), while the population whose mother tongue is Finnish, Swedish or Sami is decreasing and the foreign-speaking population is increasing. The average annual increase was 0.3% (2021) and the population density was 1inhabitants per km 2. The share of the economically active population (18-64 years) in the total Finnish population is 62% (2021). 71% of the population lives in cities, while 29% live in the countryside (2020). A fundamental horizontal challenge for Finland is the fastest aging population in Europe and, after Japan, in the world.
Finnish citizens make up 94.9% of Finland’s population. The Swedish-speaking Finns (5%) and Sami (about 1.8%), who are the only European group of indigenous peoples, have the status of traditional minorities and the related language rights. A total of approximately 300,000 citizens of other countries live in Finland, most of them from Estonia, Russia, Iraq, China, Thailand and Afghanistan.
68% belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1% to the Orthodox Church, 0.40% to Islam and 0.2% to the Roman Catholic Church. About 30% of the population is of no religion.
Finland has two official languages - Finnish (86.9%) and Swedish (5%). Sami languages (0.03%) have a special legal status.