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Finland - Relations






 

Estonian foreign representations in this country

(last updated: 07.11.2018)

 

- Most important visits

- Significant agreements

- Co-operation

- Economic relations

- Cultural co-operation

The Republic of Finland recognised the Republic of Estonia in 1920 and diplomatic relations were restored on 29 August 1991. The first Ambassador of Estonia to Finland after independence was regained was Lennart Meri.

The present Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to Finland is Harri Tiido, who presented his credentials to  President of Finland Sauli Niinistö on 6 September 2018. The Embassy of the Republic of Finland in Tallinn has been managed by Ambassador Timo Kantola since 4 September 2014.

Eight honorary consuls of Estonia operate in Finland: in Oulu, Turku, Kotka, Mariehamn, Vaasa, Kuopio, Rovaniemi and Tampere.
Finland has three honorary consuls in Estonia: in Pärnu, Narva and Tartu.

The 13th composition of the Riigikogu established the Estonian and Finnish Group of Friends on 2 April 2015, which is chaired by Kalle Palling. The Estonian Group of Friends in Finnish Etuskunta was established in February 2016 and  is chaired by Krista Kiuru.

The Estonian and Finnish governments held a joint session in Tallinn on 7 May 2018 to celebrate the 100th jubilee of both states. Transport connections between Estonia and Finland, digital and cultural cooperation between the two states and joint interests in the European Union were discussed at the session.

Most important visits

to Finland

October 2018

President Kersti Kaljulaid at Estonian-Finnish- Swedish economic forum at Hanaholmen

October 2018

Joint seminar of Riigikogu and Etuskunta to celebrate Estonia 100

October 2018

Speaker of Riigikogu Eiki Nestor at Turu Book Fair

August 2018

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the celebration of Estonia 100

February 2018

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the Estonian Independence celebration

March 2018

Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm at the working visit

June 2018

Minister of Economy Kadri Simson at the working visit

June 2018

President Kersti Kaljulaid at the Conference Northern Lights

November 2017

President Kersti Kaljulaid at the celebration of "Estonia-Finland 200"

October 2017

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas met with major investors

October 2017

President Kersti Kaljulaid spoke at the Hanaholmens's Futureforum

September 2017

Minister of Defence Jüri Luik on familiarisation visit

March 2017

President Kersti Kaljulaid on a state visit

January 2017

 Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna on a familiarisation visit

January 2017

 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser on  a familiarisation visit

December 2016

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on an familiarisation visit

 

to Estonia



September 2018

Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö
June 2018 President Sauli Niinistö at Gaudeamus, Tartu
  June 2018 Minister of Foreign Affairs Timo Soini
   May 2018   Joint session of Estonian and Finnish Governments
 March 2018

  Etuskunta Committee of External Affairs

June 2017

President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä at the celebration of Finland 100 in Tallinn

June 2017

Minister of Foreign Affairs Timo Soini

May 2017

Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö

November 2016 Prime Minister Juha Sipilä
May 2016 President Sauli Niinistö on a State Visit

Significant agreements

Treaties between the two countries have been developed extensively. As of 1 May 2004, economic relations are governed by the regulations of the EU’s internal market. There are 32 bilateral agreements between Estonia and Finland, of which the following are the most significant:

  • Agreement Between the Republic of Estonia and Republic of Finland on Prevention, Preparation and Solution of Emergency situations (came into force 10.05.2015)
  • Agreement Between the Republic of Estonia and Republic of Finland Abolishing the Requirement to Legalise Population Registry Documents (came into force 1 July 2012)
  • Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Finland on the Mutual Protection of Confidential Information (came into force 5 June 2007)
  • Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Finland on the Reciprocal Holding of Stocks of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products (came into force 23 December 2006)
  • Agreement on Joint Implementation Projects for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Concentrations (came into force 19 Jan 2004)
  • Agreement on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (came into force 6 Jun 2002);
  • Agreement Regarding the Readmission of Persons Whose Entry or Residence is Illegal(came into force 3 Oct 1996)
  • Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (came into force 30 Dec 1993)
  • Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of Investments (came into force 3 Dec 1992).
  • Agreement on Cultural and Educational Co-operation between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Finland; the so-called "Intellectual Co-operation Convention" (originally signed in 1937, came into force again in 1992).

 

Co-operation

The relations of Estonia and Finland are characterised by strong historical and cultural connections;  contact between the two states  is very frequent and  covers a number of fields from the economy to culture.

Estonians form the biggest group of foreign nationals in  Finnish society. The total number of Estonians living in Finland as at November 2017  was 70,618 (over 52,029 have permanent addresses, over 18,589 have contact addresses).

The number of Finns living in Estonia according to the data of Statistics Estonia of June 2016 is 7,659, but the estimated number is ca 9,000. The majority of them live in Tallinn or near Tallinn. Over 1,000 Finnish students study in Estonia.

Almost all Estonian ministries cooperate closely with Finland. Bilateral cooperation and  contact with Finnish partners  is particularly strong and frequent in the fields of defence, the economy, education and research, culture, internal affairs and justice.

ICT holds a special place in the cooperation between Estonia and Finland. Cooperation takes place in the development of e-governance and e-data exchange. Prime Ministers Andrus Ansip and Jyrki Katainen digitally signed a mutual memorandum of understanding for cooperation on 10 December 2013, which covers the field of ICT and  X-Road cooperation. It was agreed in the memorandum that Estonia and Finland will be working on the further development of the national data exchange layer, i.e. X-Road, together. The test version on Palveluväylä (based on the X-Road), which offers the possibility of cross-border use of e-services, was launched in Finland in autumn 2015. On 10 May 2016 Prime Ministers Taavi Rõivas and Juha Sipilä digitally signed a joint declaration as a continuation of cooperation, which focuses on launching data exchange between the two states on the basis of the data exchange platform of the X-Road.

There is now a technical solution which makes it possible to exchange data between the different institutions of Estonia and Finland via the X-Road. The Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions was established for the development of the X-Road data exchange layer in June 2017. We have created the premises for the implementation of cross-border e-services with the data exchange. The two states cooperate in launching data exchange in the following fields: population register data, commercial register data, digital prescriptions, social insurance data, health insurance data and nautical data.

The topic of a tunnel connecting Tallinn and Helsinki has risen to the top of possible fields of future cooperation. The conference where the results of the feasibility study of the tunnel (FinEst Link project) were disclosed was held on 7 February 2018 and was attended by the transport ministers of both states, mayors and others.

After the completion of the feasibility study of the Tallinn-Helsinki railway tunnel, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Transport formed a working group that will determine the next steps in the tunnel project. One of the tasks of the working group is to study the need for further studies and the options of funding them. The working group will consider the results and recommendations of the FinEst project study in the course of its work. The far-reaching economic impact of the tunnel, funding options and issues concerning transport and logistics will also be considered in light of the technological developments.

Defence co-operation

The defence cooperation between Estonia and Finland is active and covers regular political and defence consultations as well as practical joint initiatives. Estonia and Finland have a framework contract on defence cooperation and based on this, the states continue  to exchange information about the security situation on the Baltic Sea, defence planning, the development of military capabilities, research and development in the area of defence, training exercises and cyber defence.

The two states have cooperated closely in the field of defence education and military training as well as in the areas of joint procurement and arms control. For years, Finland has supported the Baltic Defence College (BALDEFCOL) by sending an instructor.

The cooperation of Finland and Estonia on the UNIFL mission of the UN (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) to Lebanon started in May 2015, where Estonia is contributing a unit the size of an infantry platoon to the joint battalion of Finland and Ireland. The Estonian infantry platoon serves in the western sector of the UNIFIL next to the border of Israel and its main duty is to carry out observations and patrols, and man control posts. Members of the Estonian

Defence Forces also cooperated with the armed forces of Lebanon. The joint battalion of Finland and Ireland will stop operating  at the end of 2018.

Finland has been a Contributing Participant of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, which is based in Estonia, since October 2015. Two Finnish experts work at the centre. Estonia is one of the founding countries of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which is located in Finland.

 

Economic relations

Data from the Statistics Estonia, the Bank of Estonia and Enterprise Estonia have been used.

All the major economic agreements have been concluded between Estonia and Finland, including agreements for the facilitation and protection of investments, economic co-operation and aid, avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion, an aviation agreement, and an agreement for reciprocal customs aid and road transport. As of May 1, 2004 Estonia and Finland’s bilateral economic relations are regulated by the rules of the EU internal market.

TRADE

Finland has long been Estonia's most important economic and trade partner. As of 2017, Finland continues to be Estonia’s largest trading partner (15% of all trade). Finland is our main import partner (14%) and the main export partner (16%). The main export articles to Finland are machinery and equipment (29%), metals and metal products (14%), other industrial products (11%) and wood and wood products (7-8%). The main articles imported from Finland to Estonia are machinery and equipment (21%), mineral products (12%), metals and metal products (12%) The balance of trade is slightly positive for Estonia.

Estonian-Finnish trade 2006-2017 (in millions EUR)

Year

Export

 % of total export

Import

% of total import

Balance

2006

1 391.1

18.0

1 939.3

18.1

- 548.2

2007

1 422.0

17.7

1 772.2

15.5

- 350.2

2008

1 557.9

18.4

1 540.1

14.1

17.8

2009

1 201.4

18.5

1 047.2

14.4

154.2

2010

1 487.6

17.0

1 378.1

14.9

109.5

2011

1 807.8

15.0

1 604.5

12.6

203.3

2012

1 817.8

14.5

2 105.7

14.9

-287.9

2013

1 984.2

16.1

2 087.3

15.0

-103.1

2014

1 847.5

15.3

2 092.3

15.3

-244.8

2015

1 860.7

16.0

1 894.5

14.5

-33.8

2016

1 909.8

15.9

1 763.1

13.0

146

2017

2 074.3

16.1

2 075.2

14.1

-0.9

 


All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia

INVESTMENTS AND BUSINESS

Finland has been one of the two biggest investors in the Estonian economy during the entire period of Estonian independence (in second place after Sweden). According to the Bank of Estonia, in 2017 22% of the total amount of direct investment to Estonia came from Finland, totaling 4.3 billion euros. The greatest investment has been in the real estate sector (29%), manufacturing (25%), wholesale and retail trade (13%).

In the list of Estonia's foreign investment target countries, Finland rank in fourth place. As of 2017, Estonia's direct investments in Finland made up to 9.2% of all investments made in foreign countries totalling 589 mln euros. Estonian investments in Finland are primarily in the finance and insurance industry (37%), the manufacturing industry (21%), the transportation and inventory sector (15 %).

According to the Commercial Registry, as of May 2017, there was a total of 5913 companies with Finnish-ownership in Estonia.

Enterprise Estonia, trade association and Chamber of Commerce

As of 2002 there is a representation of Enterprise Estonia functioning in Helsinki. The goal of its activities is to introduce possibilities in Estonia to Finnish investors and help Estonian companies that are entering the Finnish market.

The Finnish-Estonian Trade Association (SEKY, www.seky.fi), established in 1990, comprises Finnish enterprises active in Estonia and enterprises potentially interested in Estonia. The main purpose of SEKY is to establish business contacts and to improve relations between Estonian and Finnish businesses. In Estonia the Finnish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce (FECC, www.fecc.ee) has similar goals – to mediate business contacts and provide its members with information about the Estonian economy.

In the fall of 2007 the Estonian Embassy, the Finnish-Estonian Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Estonia and local Finnish chambers of commerce co-operated to start up a series of seminars introducing the Estonian economy entitled "Verkotu Viroon". Seminars have been carried out in Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Kotka, and Helsinki; there are plans to continue holding events in other cities.

TOURISM

Finland is Estonia's most important tourist destination. The share of all Finns in the total number of tourists hosted in Estonia based on 2017 data is, as in previous years, very high - 41% of all overnight stays. In 2017 the number of tourists from Finland totaled 916 000. According to Bank of Estonia statistics, there was a total of 1.2 million visits from Finland to Estonia in 2017.

Finland has also been the main foreign travel destination of Estonians. According to the data of the Estonian Statistics Centre, in 2017 573 000 Estonian tourists stayed at overnight accommodation establishments in Finland.

 

Cultural co-operation

The cultural relations between Estonia and Finland are very close and the number and level of cultural events are remarkable. The Republic of Estonia celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. The Republic of Estonia celebrated its 100th birthday in 2018, which was celebrated in Finland with a very diverse programme of cultural events.

The idea to establish the Estonian House in Helsinki came from the desire to support the Estonian nationals living in Finland and companies interested in doing business in Finland. The Viro-keskus, which was opened in 2010, is a ‘new-generation’ Estonian House that brings together the functions of representing Estonia (the Estonian Institute), promoting export and finding investments (Enterprise Estonia) as well as developing estophilia and supporting the adaptation of immigrants (Tuglas Society, Association of Estonian Societies in Finland). The Finnish Institute in Estonia has been working on the development of the cultural and economic relations between Finland and Estonia since 1994.

Active preparations for celebrating Estonia 100 started in 2017. Ambassador Margus Laidre suggested the playful term ‘Estonia-Finland 200’ for celebrating the double jubilees and strengthening the extremely diverse and close ties between the two countries and nations. The design of the symbol was created by design artist Kristjan Mändmaa, who is also the dean of the Design Department at the Estonian Academy of Art.

The biggest and most outstanding event of Estonia-Finland 200 was the two-week tour of the Estonian National Opera to Finland in 2017, which culminated on the gala night held at the Musiikkitalo in Helsinki on 25 November, which was also attended by the presidents of both countries.
The exhibition “Bridge-greetings from Two Republics” at the Virka gallery of the Helsinki City Government, which was open from October 2017 to the end of February 2018, was born from the cooperation between Estonia and Finland. The exhibition marked the hundred-year independence of Estonia and Finland from the viewpoint of the interaction between Estonians and Finns as well as of the independence culture.

The exhibition “City of Light: Estonian Artists in European Cities” was open in the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki in autumn 2017. It was an homage to the passion of Estonian artists of the first half of the 20th century (incl. Andrus Johani, Kristjan Tederi, Aleksander Vardi, Eduard Ole) for art and travelling. The exhibition accompanies the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Finnish-Estonian cultural fund awarded the first symbolic grant of 15,000 euros at the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Convention on Intellectual Cooperation of Estonia and Finland held in Helsinki on 1 December 2017. Over 20 private persons from Estonia and Finland and several organisations have contributed to the initial capital of the fund, which amounts to ca 150,000 euros. The Estonian Government allocated 700,000 euros to the Estonian-Finnish cultural funds from reserves. The Finnish Government supported the cultural fund with 6 million euros. The monetary contributions of the states are proportional to their gross domestic product.

According to the Convention on Intellectual Cooperation (contract for education and cultural cooperation), Finno-Ugrian days are celebrated in Estonia, Finland and Hungary every year on the third weekend of October (the Finno-Ugric peoples living in Russia also joined the tradition after 1991). The world congresses of Finno-Ugric peoples are also very important in terms of the existence and preservation of the Finno-Ugric peoples, their languages and culture. The 7th congress was held from 15 to 17 June 2016 in Lahti and the plan is to hold the 8th congress in the Estonian National Museum in Tartu in 2020.
Estonians from all over the world will gather in 2019 to celebrate their global heritage and culture. ESTO 2019 will take place in Helsinki, Tartu and Tallinn from 28 June to 4 July 2019.

 


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