Archive and Chronology of Finnish Foreign Policy

Year 1989 in Finnish Foreign Policy


The opening session of the Parliament elected Kalevi Sorsa as its speaker.

In his New Year's Speech President Koivisto noted that the improved superpower relations, progress in disarmament and the settling of some regional conflicts must be seen as positive developments of the global situation. Becoming a member of the UN Security Council marks a great challenge for Finland. According to Koivisto, the country has been somewhat hesitant to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, and this line will continue. International cooperation, he said, would be decisive in solving the environmental problems.

Finland started its two-year term in the UN Security Council.


The Ministry of Defence published its financial and operational plan for 1990-94. It totalled FIM 15.8 billion, with the increase in defence expenditures being 10.7 per cent. The Ministry suggested, for example, the modernisation of the interceptor aircraft.


Neutral and non-aligned countries submitted their draft final document for the Vienna CSCE follow-up meeting to be held in Helsinki in 1992.


The Foreign Minister's five-year plan for 1990-1994 suggested that the next CSCE follow-up meeting be held in Helsinki in 1992. Development aid will remain at 0.7 per cent of the gross national product and Finland will seek full membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1992.


The 149-country conference on chemical disarmament was held in Paris. Finland was represented by Foreign Minister Sorsa, who addressed the conference on 10.1. In his speech, Sorsa announced that Finland will take steps to instruct experts from developing countries as to the methods and equipment needed to control the ban on chemical weapons that is being negotiated.


Finland addressed the Security Council after the shooting down of two Libyan aeroplanes by  U.S. armed forces in the Mediterranean. Finland expressed hope that international regulations for marine and air force behaviour would be established.


The Finnish Government proposed holding a conference on the protection of the environment in the Arctic areas as soon as possible. Invitations would be sent to the Nordic countries as well as to the Soviet Union, Canada and the United States.

The meeting of Nordic Ministers for the Environment was held in Helsinki. A new Nordic environmental programme for cooperation and an action plan to prevent the pollution of the seas were signed.


The UN Security Council voted on a draft resolution concerning the air incident between the United States and Libya. Finland abstained from voting because of what were described as imbalances in the text of the resolution.


Foreign Minister Sorsa and Minister for the Environment Bärlund announced that the environmental conference of the Arctic countries would be held at a ministerial level in Helsinki within the next two years. The purpose of the conference would be to conclude an agreement on the protection of the environment in the Arctic and set up an international body to monitor compliance.


The first meeting for trade union leaders from EFTA countries was held in Vienna. From Finland, chairman Viinanen of the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK) attended. In its declaration, the meeting considered EFTA to be the appropriate instrument to further talks with the EC.


Foreign Minister Sorsa tendered his resignation to President Koivisto, due to the former wanting to give way to Social Democratic Party chairman Paasio in the cabinet.

Foreign Minister Sorsa attended a Stockholm meeting of Social Democratic Foreign Ministers of Finland, Sweden and Norway. Joint efforts to advance the Middle East peace process were discussed.


A draft law on the state of defence was given to Minister of Defence Norrback by the Parliamentary Committee on the state of war. The new draft would replace the 1930 law on the state of war.


SDP chairman Paasio was appointed as Foreign Minister.


In Copenhagen, Nordic Cooperation Ministers presented their report on Nordic cooperation in establishing links with the EC. EFTA was generally considered to be the most important instrument in these efforts. In addition, there was an attempt utilise the Nordic cooperation, whose ultimate aim was considered to be the establishment of a common home and transport market. The report was entitled "Nordic Countries in Europe II”.


During a meeting of CE parliamentarians in Strasbourg, France recommended the acceptance of Finland as a member of the Council of Europe.

A poll published by the Ministry of Labour examined the attitudes of Finns towards foreigners as well as alien policy. More than thirty per cent of those interviewed wanted to accept more refugees than the official refugee quotas indicated. The majority of Finns were prepared to grant aliens political rights after a few years of residence in Finland.

Finland signed, together with the other Nordic countries, agreements with the SADCC-countries on a Norsad fund, which would promote the flow of capital to these countries. Agreements on cultural cooperation and the Taara railway in Tanzania were also signed.


In his speech at the opening of the 1989 session of the Parliament, President Koivisto found the draft revision of the Constitution, given to the Parliament by the government, acceptable. He emphasised the importance of the negotiations on conventional disarmament in Central Europe as well as confidence-building measures regarding the northern seas.


The meeting of the leaders of the Nordic Conservative Parties accepted a resolution on European integration. The meeting also discussed the developments in Eastern Europe, environmental and energy issues and the workings of the Nordic Council.


Finland joined the international UN convention against the illegal trade of drugs (Vienna).

Soviet Finance Minister Gostev and Finance Minister Liikanen signed an agreement on the protection of investments between Finland and the Soviet Union.


A governmental bill was submitted to the Parliament expanding the possibilities of aliens having access to public posts.

The Finnish delegation for the forthcoming CSCE talks on disarmament was appointed. Ambassador Markku Reimaa became the head of the delegation. 6-8.3. A Foreign Minister meeting for the 35 CSCE countries was held in Vienna; From Foreign Minister Paasio attended on behalf of Finland.


A meeting of the Baltic Commission was held in Helsinki. The meeting established a commission for the follow-up of earlier recommendations on reducing pollutive waste by 1995. Greenpeace was accepted as an observer in the organisation.


A poll was published concerning the views of Finns on security and foreign policies. 85 per cent of those interviewed regarded Finnish foreign policy to be successful and 74 per cent saw the Finnish-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (IFCMAI) as a positive factor in view of Finland's international position.

The Security Council voted on the resolution condemning Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories as violations of human rights. Finland voted in favour of the resolution.


Mr. and Mrs. President Koivisto attended the funeral of Emperor Hirohito in Tokyo. Koivisto also had meetings with the new Emperor, Akihito, and Prime Minister Noburo Takeshita.

A total of 886 peacekeepers were put at the disposal of the United Nations in order to carry out the Namibian peace plan.


The economic and working plan of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for 1990-94 anticipated the annual expansion of refugee quotas by 100-150 refugees. At the end of that period, the annual quota would be 1000 refugees.


In their meeting in Stockholm, the Nordic Prime Ministers reviewed the EFTA-EC relationship in view of the forthcoming meeting of the EFTA heads of governments in Oslo.


The Nordic Council held its 37th session in Stockholm.


The Parliament submitted a governmental bill proposing the adoption of the Council of Europe charter, thus accepting Finnish membership of the Council.


A Nordic Foreign Ministerial meeting was held in the Faroe Islands. According to the ministers, a peace conference should be organised in order to solve the problems in the Middle East. All the parties of the dispute, as well as the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, should attend. The Nordic countries announced they would relax visa regulations for South African citizens.


A 124-country conference on the protection of the ozone layer was held in London. Minister of the Environment Bärlund suggested that the use of chemical substances which deplete the ozone layer be abandoned by the year 2000.


According to an amendment of the law on associations, foreigners are permitted to join associations in Finland. Membership in political parties, however, is open only to citizens of the Nordic countries resident in Finland.


Leaders of the member parties involved in the Socialist International held a meeting in Vienna. From Finland, Social Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Paasio attended.


A Prime Ministerial meeting of the EFTA countries in Oslo focused on arranging relations with the EC. From Finland, Prime Minister Holkeri attended. The meeting prepared a declaration for the joint ministerial meeting of EFTA and EC countries, to be held on 20.3. A decision was made on closer communication within EFTA. EFTA fishing markets will be freed taking into account the reservations requested by Finland.


Finland addressed the Geneva Disarmament Conference, stating its desire for full membership. Finland has acted as an observer since the foundation of the body and carried out research in order to advance negotiations on disarmament.


In their meeting, the international sections of the Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL) and the Finnish Communist Party (SKP) reviewed Finland joining the Council of Europe. No obstacles were seen, although membership was seen to have some negative consequences.


U.S. President George Bush appointed John Giffen Weinmann as the new U.S. ambassador to Helsinki.


The Social Democratic Party marked the 90th anniversary of its foundation. The declaration given by the party on the occasion called for the protection of the environment through effective national laws and binding international agreements.

The joint ministerial meeting of EFTA and the EC was held in Brussels. Finland was represented by Foreign Trade Minister Salolainen.


The first contingents of the Finnish UN Peacekeeping force left for Namibia.


An information forum connected to the CSCE process was held in London, with delegations from all 35 countries. The forum focused on problems concerning the access and distribution of information.


The Parliament decided on Finnish membership of the Council of Europe. It also accepted a law on the Finnish delegation to the Council, which consisted of five members and five substitutes.


Mr. and Mrs. President Koivisto visited Poland. The President met with the Head of State, Wojciech Jaruseiski and expressed Finnish support for the reforms in Poland. As to the development of cooperation in the field of the environment, it was agreed that a joint working group be set up. Finland promised to supply Poland with know-how and technology.


The joint Gulf of Bothnia Committee of Finland and Sweden launched a research project to study the pollution of the Gulf of Bothnia and the factors contributing to it. The results would be published in 1993.


The Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Paavo Lipponen, estimated that Finnish membership of the European Communities will become reality in the 1990s. The development will be largely dependent on the success of attempts to create a wider European Economic Space (IEES) between the EC and EFTA, as well as on general developments in Europe.


The Finnish delegation to the Council of Europe was confirmed by the Parliament. National Coalition MP Liisa Hilpelä was elected chairwoman, along with nine other members.


The Ministry for Foreign Affairs distributed FIM 116.3 million to civic and missionary organisations, to be used for development cooperation in 1989-91.

26-28.4. An international follow-up meeting of the so-called Vienna convention on the protection of the ozone layer was held in Helsinki. The Finnish delegation was headed by Minister of the Environment Bärlund. Finland promised to examine the possibilities of giving monetary support to developing countries and aid attempts to solve their environmental problems.


A ministerial meeting on the environment was held in Helsinki, which focused on the strengthening of the Montreal agreement on the protection of the earth's ozone layer. There was a suggestion by President Koivisto that the use of chemical substances depleting the ozone layer be abandoned as soon as possible. He announced that Finland would increase, by 50 per cent, its support to the UN Environmental Programme, UNEP. The meeting adopted a so-called Helsinki declaration, formulated by Finland, as an official appendix to the agenda. A separate working group was set up to look for ways which would enable developing countries to switch over to technologies less harmful to the ozone layer.


The refugee quota was expanded by the government for the second time this year, increasing from 400 to 500.


Finland became a member of the Council of Europe.


The Finnish action programme focusing on the environment and development, based on the report of the so-called Brundtland commission, was completed. It suggested reductions in the consumption of energy, the development of agriculture and forestry according to more natural principles and reductions in traffic flows.

The OECD presented its reports on Finnish agricultural policy. According to the organisation, excessive support for agriculture has led to growing overproduction. Finnish agricultural policy places too strong an emphasis on self-reliance in times of crises, instead of peace time self-reliance.


Finland will open a new embassy in Dublin, Ireland on August 1st 1989.

Head of general staff, vice-admiral Jan Klenberg was appointed to the role of Commanding General of the Defence Forces. He will take up his post on 1.3.1990.


The Centre of Finland hosted a visit by the Soviet Communist Party delegation. The delegation was headed by Boris Bugo, member of the party central committee and chairman of the control committee. The delegation also met President Koivisto.


Minister of the Environment Bärlund attended the 15th meeting of the UN Environmental Programme UNEP. The meeting outlined the focal areas for international environmental cooperation in the 1990s.


Eight agreements on economic cooperation were signed between Finland and China.


The Finnish Meteorological Institute made public its estimates on sulphur fallouts in Finland. According to those estimates, 40 per cent comes from the Soviet Union, another 40 per cent from Finnish industry and the remaining 20 per cent from the rest of Europe.


A meeting of EFTA parliamentarians was held in Helsinki. The meeting supported the idea of establishing a joint fund to strengthen the protection of the environment in Eastern Europe. The aim is to present an initiative to the EFTA governments in the beginning of 1990. The parliamentarians discussed finding a so-called third road in establishing relations with the EC.


The government set up a working group to make preparations for the financing of environmental investments in Eastern Europe.

An advisory committee was appointed by the President to prepare and analyse Finnish standpoints in connection with the negotiations on economic integration in Western Europe. Foreign Trade Minister Salolainen became chairman of a body consisting of 43 members.


The government accepted a Ministry of Labour proposition regarding the opening of borders to foreign labour. This would be a means to moderate periodic shortages of labour. Finnish laws on social security and working conditions, as well as collective labour agreements, would apply to foreign labour.


An agreement was signed between Finland and the Soviet Union on sulphur discharges in both countries as well as their effects in each other's territories.


Foreign Minister Paasio commented on the violent crushing of the Tiananmen demonstrations in Peking. It was stressed by the Foreign Minister that the developments transmitted will be followed with anxiety and shock in Finland.


The government's Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the events in China on the basis of a report by Foreign Minister Paasio. In its public statement, the government characterised the developments in China as worrisome. Finland would not, however, break its cooperation with China.


In the UN Security Council, Finland called upon Israel to act in a more conciliatory way and asked for new moves to sort out the ongoing disturbances in the occupied Palestinian territories.


Foreign Minister Paasio argued that it would be justified to modernise the practice of public communiqués in the context of visits of Heads of States between Finland and the Soviet Union.


An SKDL delegation visited the Soviet Union. In its meeting with the Soviet Communist party representatives, SKDL made initiatives concerning increased cooperation in the field of the environment, improving information links, the abolition of visa procedures and the development on mutual trade of free currencies.


Prime Minister Holkeri hosted the summer meeting of Nordic Prime Ministers in Finland. The meeting discussed support towards Eastern Europe and relations with the EC regarding the violent actions of the Chinese government in crushing student demonstrations in Peking.


In a written question, 41 members of Parliament demanded that the government report on the eventual sanctions against the Chinese government, as well as the freezing of, for example, trade relations with and development aid to China.


The working committee of the Swedish People's Party noted that it is not justified to severe trade links with China as a protest towards the violent crushing of the Peking demonstrations.

In Copenhagen, the Nordic Cooperation Ministers adopted a working programme for 1989-92 concerning the status of the Nordic countries in Europe.

An independent expert group reviewing Finnish development aid found that the basic principles behind Finnish aid were correct, and that aid must not be too dispersed. Solving the problems of the Third World requires the moderation of the rate the population increases, as well as finding a solution to environmental and debt problems. Foreign minister Paasio noted that it would be necessary to have a new post in the government — that of a Minister for Development Cooperation.


In an interview published in the newspaper Savon Sanomat, President Koivisto noted that the events in China do not affect Sino-Finnish economic relations.


A ministerial meeting on the Eureka- programme was held in Vienna. The Finnish delegation was headed by Minister of Trade and Industry Suominen. Finland joined 8 of the 89 new projects.

Finland addressed the CSCE conference on human rights in Paris. The speech emphasised the necessity of preserving the status of national minorities.


The Congress of the Socialist International was held in Stockholm. The SDP delegation was led by Party chairman Paasio. The SDP invited all leftist parties in Europe to a joint forum which would be held in Finland in the autumn of 1990. The central themes of the forum would be security issues, economic cooperation and environmental questions.


A meeting of the Nordic ministers of consumer issues was held in Copenhagen. The meeting was dedicated to making plans for common principles and methods of labelling products not harmful to the environment.


A 72-point joint working plan, "Nordic Countries in Europe 1989—92”, was published. The plan focused on strengthening the Nordic home market and its position within European integration.


Finnish Minister of the Environment Bärlund and his Swedish counterpart made an attempt to clear the differences between the two countries on pollutive discharges, and examined plans for the environmental protection of industrial plants seen as the worst polluters of the Gulf of Bothnia in both countries.


Green and environmental movements from the Baltic region held their meeting in Kotka. The meeting criticised the workings of the Helsinki Commission, which is a joint environmental commission for the whole Baltic region. It was also decided that a communication network for citizens would be established in order to facilitate the exchange of information on environmental issues relating to the Baltic sea, as well an information centre for the Baltic.


Pasi Rutanen, Deputy Head of the Foreign Ministry's department for development cooperation, was appointed as the Prime Minister's foreign policy advisor.


The Finnish UN battalion stationed in Namibia was informed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that holidays in South Africa by UN soldiers were regarded as improper due to the South African policy of apartheid.


In an article in the newspaper Turun Sanomat, docent Esko Antola from the University of Turku reviewed the prospects of neutrality in a changing Europe. According to Antola, European integration was changing the operational surroundings of the neutral countries to such an extent that the old concept of neutrality, born as a result of the Second World War, was no longer applicable. New developments seem to set a demand for a new definition of neutrality. Neutral countries do not want to take part in military cooperation within the EC, and are suggesting that it be excluded from eventual membership. Secondly, neutral countries should agree to accept the multinational decision-making process, which membership of the EC entails. Acting on these, they would be able to influence those EC decisions that affect these countries in any case.


Docent Antola elaborated on the concept of neutrality presented in his earlier article. Although he now laid a strong emphasis on the re-evaluation of the concept of neutrality, he did not want to abandon the concept altogether. According to Antola, we might, as early ast the next decade, find ourselves in a situation where neutrality must be combined with multinational ties.

Finland announced during the Geneva Disarmament Conference that it is able to instruct representatives of developing countries in the verification of use and production of chemical weapons. The first course would start at the beginning of 1990.

Minister of Defence Norrback suggested that the system of conscription, which is used by the Swiss defence forces, should be adopted in Finland. Actual military service lasts approximately four months, after which conscripts are called to reserve exercises every year for ten years.


A joint event, "Nature and Peace 1989”, was arranged in Kirkebas, Norway and Murmansk, Soviet Union. The event was organised by activists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Soviet Union, and focused on security and environmental issues pertaining to the northernmost parts of the participating countries.


Finland received the UN instructions it had requested concerning Namibian peacekeepers and their holidays in South Africa. The organisation did not forbid these holidays. The Finnish Ministry of Defence and Ministry for Foreign Affairs, however, found these holidays inappropriate, since Finland does not approve of the South African policy of apartheid.


The European Congress of Conscripts convened in Vantaa. Official delegations from seven countries attended, together with several observers. European threat perceptions and southern European conscripts were on the congress´ agenda.


The Peace in the Nordic 2000 seminar was held in Kuhmo and Kostamus. Scholars from the Soviet Union and the United States attended the seminar, which focused on peace research and environmental cooperation.


The amendments to the laws concerning the access of foreigners to public posts entered into force. Access was generally enlarged, but the highest posts remained open to Finnish citizens only.


It was announced by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that a new office would be opened in Tallinn at the beginning of October. The new office would operate under the Leningrad consulate and deal primarily with visa applications.


The Swedish People's Party suggested that Finland accept Hungarian refugees from Romania.


The autumn meeting of the Nordic Foreign Ministers was held in Iceland, and discussed the working programme of the next UN session of the UN General Assembly. The ministers reviewed the chances for improved contact with the Baltic countries as well as for the arrangement of a meeting for all littoral states of the Baltic, in order to reduce the pollution of the sea.


In the meeting of the Nordic Cooperation Ministers, it was noted that the cooperation programme "Nordic Countries in Europe 1989—92” will become a central theme in Nordic cooperation, together with environmental issues. From Finland, Minister of Justice Louekoski attended.


Preparations for the conference for the protection of the environment in the Arctic areas will be launched at a sub- ministerial level in Rovaniemi on the 20th of September 1989. Delegates from Nordic countries, the Soviet Union, Canada and the United States will attend.


President Koivisto commented in Mikkeli about the recent discussion on a claimed shift in Finnish foreign policy. In the background there was the exchange of views concerning integration policy, as well as the so-called FCMA-pact with the Soviet Union. According to Koivisto, the government had already made itself clear on these points. If there is to be a change in Finnish foreign policy, it will be announced, said the President.


The Social Democratic Party held its 90-year celebrations in Turku. Mr. and Mrs. President Koivisto attended the occasion.


In the environmental conference of the Council of Ministers of the Nordic Countries in Gothenburg, three programmes for environmental protection were handled, and the Nordic support investments for Eastern European environmental protection were agreed upon in principle. The final decision will be taken by the Nordic Council during its March 1990 meeting.

During the "Air Protection Days” in Lappeenranta, a joint programme for the protection of all the Nordic countries´ air space was presented. The programme aims to considerably reduce sulphur and nitric discharges, and would be submitted to the Ministers of the Environment.

A Soviet Foreign Ministry statement noted that the Soviet Union puts a high value on what was termed as deliberative Finnish integration policy. A possible definition of Finnish neutrality in the joint declaration of the Gorbachev visit can be altered if necessary. Changes in the Finnish-Soviet Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (FCMA) were seen as unjustified, and, according to the statement, it will also form the basis of relations between the two countries in the next century.


Nordic members of ECRE, the joint body for the European refugee organisations, reviewed the current status of refugees and the rise of racism in the Nordic countries. The meeting was held in Helsinki.


In his lecture in Paasikivi-Seura commemorating the late President Urho Kekkonen, former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt estimated the political and economical situation in Europe. He reviewed the Soviet perestroika's future prospects and the modernisation process in Eastern Europe, as well as Western attitudes towards these developments.


In an interview published in the West German magazine der Spiegel, President Koivisto estimated that relations between Finland and the Soviet Union were developing in a more natural direction. Finnish neutrality is, he said, incompatible with EC membership.


Speaking in the Parliament, Foreign Minister Paasio announced that Finnish membership of the EC is not being considered. Arrangements with the EC can be found which correspond to our economic and other national interests. These arrangements would have no impact on our policy of neutrality, since neutrality cannot be considered a concept of trade policy.


Foreign Minister Paasio visited the U.S. and attended the UN General Assembly in New York. In his address on 26.9., he emphasised the importance of continued superpower dialogue as well as the reduction of conventional armaments in Europe.


A preparatory meeting for the conference on environmental protection in the Arctic areas was held in Rovaniemi. A total of fifty delegates attended. All the Nordic countries, the Soviet Union, Canada and the United States were represented. It was agreed in the meeting that further cooperation will focus on the definition of the pollutants threatening the area and agreeing on the follow-up of the state of the environment as well as finding an eduring way to use the natural resources in the area. A ministerial meeting on environmental protection was to be held in the autumn of 1990.


The Finnish delegation to the Council of Europe attended the autumn session of the Council. The session appointed the secretary general to Ministry of Justice Pekkanen as a member of the CE Court of Human Rights.


National Coalition chairman Suominen and Prime Minister Holkeri took part in the Tokyo conference for International Democratic Union (IDU) leaders. The meeting focused on developments in China as well as Eastern Europe.


In an interview in the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, President Koivisto regarded Finnish EC membership as impossible. However, he also said that the most important project in Finnish foreign and trade policy for the time being was the establishment of European Economic Space (EES). Western integration cannot be seen as an obstacle to the development of trade and economic relations with Eastern Europe, said Koivisto. From the perspective of Finland and other EFTA countries, taking part in the integration process brings more advantages than staving outside, because it is through participation that we achieve the best possibilities to exert influence. Koivisto found it unnecessary to make any changes to the FCMA Treaty.


The SKP delegation on East-West trade made a visit to the Soviet Union. New challenges to the economic cooperation between Finland and the Soviet Union were discussed, as was increased cooperation between Soviet Karelia and eastern Finland.


The Christian League participated in the Tallinn seminar of the Christian parties in the Baltic and Nordic countries. In their declaration, the parties demanded the cancellation of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.


Delegation from the Albanian parliament, headed by The Secretary of the National Assembly, Sihat Tozain, visited Finland. The delegation had discussions with Prime Minister Holkeri, Minister of Justice Louekoski and Parliament Speaker Sorsa concerning economic and cultural relations.


The Delegation of the Finnish Centre, headed by chairman Väyrynen, visited the Soviet Union. The visit was arranged to celebrate the 15 year-old relations between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Finnish Centre.


Minister of Defence Norrback estimated that there may have to be an increase in the defence budget in order to finance the new interceptor aircraft. However, Commanding General of the Defence Forces Valtanen argued that the purchase of new aircraft need not lead to a substantial increase in defence expenditures.


Mr and Mrs. President Koivisto made a state visit to the Federal Republic of Germany. In the delegation were Foreign Minister Paasio and Minister of Trade and Industry Suominen, as well as Finnish industry representatives. In the discussions with his host, President Richard von Weizsäcker President Koivisto presented the Finnish view of European integration. Koivisto estimated that problems in Eastern Europe would also bring economical and environmental problems to Western Europe. He said that Finland is very willing to play host to the highest political representatives of the CSCE countries when the fourth follow-up meeting is held in Helsinki in 1992.


The member countries of the agreement on Antarctica accepted Finland as a member with full powers.


The Austrian Foreign Minister, Alois Mock, visited Finland. He met President Koivisto, Prime Minister Holkeri, Foreign Trade Minister Salolainen and Foreign Minister Paasio.


President Koivisto said that he has no knowledge of any plans concerning an international summit in Helsinki in the autumn of 1990. According to some news reports, this summit was suggested by the Soviet Union. As to the proposed customs union between EFTA and the EC, the President noted that this is not the right way of arranging relations between the two organisations. He also regarded Finnish associate membership of the EC as unthinkable. Koivisto estimated that EFTA will not adopt multinational decision-making procedures.


The annual meeting of the Liberal International was held in Paris. From Finland, the Finnish Centre, the Swedish People's Party and the Liberal People's Party were represented. The meeting adopted a resolution on disarmament, formulated by the Swedish People's Party, and also a resolution on the environment, which was formulated by the Finnish Centre.


The government decided that a report be submitted to the Parliament concerning Finland's position towards economic integration in Western Europe.


The Delegation of the Polish Democratic Party visited Finland. The head of the delegation, Jerzy Jozwiak, had a meeting with President Koivisto. The Delegation then met Prime Minister Holkeri, Parliament Speaker Sorsa and Minister of Trade and Industry Suominen.


The conference on the protection of the seas, initiated by the Nordic Council, was held in Copenhagen. Members of Parliament from Finland and 16 other countries attended. The joint declaration called for the establishment of an international fund to support the solution of environmental problems in Eastern Europe. It also demanded that the sea areas that are most threatened be listed and an action plan made to improve their condition.


Minister of Education Taxell spoke on behalf of Finland at a UNESCO general assembly in Paris. According to Taxell, the global structural change creates a need for the abolition of illiteracy, and that there is a need for efforts to tackle environmental problems through the means of education and science.


A governmental bill was submitted to the Parliament suggesting that foreigners be allowed to join political parties, associate freely and make publications.


Soviet President and Party General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev visited Finland, where he had discussions with President Koivisto and Prime Minister Holkeri. The official declaration of the visit, signed by both leaders, recognised Finland's state as a neutral country.


Minister of Trade and Industry Suominen and Soviet Minister for External Economic Relations Katushev signed a five-year trade agreement between Finland and the Soviet Union for 1990—1995. Trade will continue to be based on clearing, but the systems of payment would be reformed. The import of energy will dominate Finnish import, and the mean value for Finnish exports will be approximately FIM 800 million annually.

An agreement on the environment was signed between Finland and the Soviet Union. The agreement aims to reduce sulphur discharges by half,compared to 1980 levels, in the border areas of both countries by 1994. The discharges of nitric compounds in 1994 should not exceed those of 1987. Furthermore, there will be a reduction in the discharges of heavy metals.


The first meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the four neutral European countries was held in Yverdomn, Switzerland. Foreign Minister Paasio attended the meeting, which suggested that any economic help given to Poland and Hungary be channelled through the OECD. It was decided that the ministerial meetings would continue.

Elsi Hetemäki-Olander, chairwoman of the Pohjola-Norden organisation, argued during the organisation's meeting in Mikkeli that the Nordic countries must, in the midst of European integration processes, stress their common values, common culture and social dimension.


The Nordic Parliamentary Commission on a nuclear free zone in the Nordic area urged their respective governments to complete the work of the Commission by the commencement of the Nordic Foreign Minister meeting in March 1990.


Minister Without Portfolio Imre Pozsgay of Hungary visited Finland. He had discussions with President Koivisto regarding Hungary's possible membership of EFTA and met Parliament Speaker Sorsa.


In the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Director of the Institute for Development Studies Kiljunen reviewed Finnish development aid and its appropriateness. The most problematic feature in development aid is not its volume but its allocation within societies. In its present form, the aid only strengthens the well-off elites in developing countries, rather than improving the conditions of the poor.


An extraordinary meeting of the Nordic Council was held in Maarianhamina. The meeting decided to send its General Secretary to Moscow to negotiate further cooperation between the Nordic Council and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. The Nordic Ministers of the Environment announced that a Nordic risk capital company would be established in order to reduce the level of air and water pollution in Eastern European countries. The Prime Ministers, in turn, stressed that it is important EFTA sticks to the schedule planned for the integration. The Finance Ministers set the goal of abolishing the remaining obstacles currently in the way of capital movements by July 1990.


Finland abstained from voting when the UN General Assembly voted on the situation in Kamputshea. A total of 124 countries supported the resolution, which stated the hope that the coalition led by Prince Norodom Sihanouk would lead the country.


The Government decided, in principle, that limitations on foreign ownership in Finland should be moderated. Regardless of the branches of the economy, foreign ownership will be accepted up to 100 per cent in principle providing it is not in conflict with the country's national interests. As to the ownership of land and real estate, the current limitations will remain in force.


Vice-admiral Klenberg called for an increase in the level of defence expenditures in the budget. Superpower relations are clearly becoming less dangerous, but the collapse of the established power structures in Europe also involves risks that have to be taken into account and preparations must be made for that.


President Koivisto gave a speech at the annual meeting of the Paasikivi society. According to Koivisto, the overall pattern in Europe will not change very quickly, due to the strong interests blocking rapid change. Finland is prepared for negotiations on cooperation between EFTA and some Eastern European countries.


The government informed the Parliament about its views on European integration. The government regarded EFTA as the best instrument to deal with the necessary arrangements of the integration process. Finland favours the creation of EES (European Economic Space), which consists of 18 countries. The structure for decision-making has to be formulated to give the member countries a real say in future regulations within the area. Social security policy will continue to be arranged on a national basis. The opposition believed that the Parliament has too few possibilities to influence the integration process.


A Swedish People's Party delegation visited the Soviet Union at the invitation of the Soviet CSCE committee. The delegation was headed by party chairman Taxell.


The Parliament discussed the government report on integration. According to the National Coalition, Finland should not hesitate to take part in the integration process. The Social Democrats wanted environmental problems and social issues to be kept in mind, while the Centre thought that the government's goals in the negotiations on integration are not clear from the report. The SKOL estimated that the EC would play a predominant role in EES arrangements; the Greens saw participation in EES as a prelude to eventual full membership in the EC; while the opposition demanded that the report be sent to the relevant committees for further inquiry.


According to the Confederation of Finnish Industries, the aim of creating a European Economic Space (EES), which can be found in the government's report, corresponds to the needs of Finnish industry.


President Koivisto talked about his state visit to the Federal Republic of Germany with the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. He also spoke about the developments in the two Germanys from the perspective of the Finnish viewpoint on Europe and described his talks with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.


As expected, the government secured a clear victory in the vote that ended the three-day discussion on integration. It was decided for example, that Finland would take part in the negotiations on European Economic Space (EES).


A joint conference of the Finnish government and an OECD group of experts reviewed the impact of technology on social development. The conference was held in Helsinki.

The role of neutrality, and therefore the position of Finland, has to be thought about again due to the integration process, argued Rozanne Ridgeway, a former U.S. ambassador to Helsinki, on her visit to Finland.


In a meeting arranged by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Swedish scholar Bo Johansson argued that accepting Finnish neutrality was an easy PR victory for Gorbachev. Johansson, whose doctoral thesis deals with Soviet attitudes towards neutral countries, also said that "Finland is not as neutral as Sweden and Austria”.


The effectiveness of security policy is increasingly important for neutral countries like Finland, due to the changes in the security situation. This was the main theme elaborated on by Tomas Ries, a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, during his visit to Helsinki.


The Finnish Green League took part in the Brussels meeting of European green parties. The meeting called upon Western Europe to keep its ecological and social responsibilities in mind when cooperating with Eastern Europe. The meeting attracted groups from 23 countries, and chairwoman of the Finnish Green League Hautala was elected to the five-member Secretariat of the European Greens.


In the meeting of the standing commission of the Finnish and Soviet central organisations for trade unions, it was suggested that from each country target areas should be chosen, and the problems would then be discussed jointly between the two parties.


Prime Minister Holkeri estimated that the security issues relating to the northern seas have an increased actuality, due to the decrease in arms build-up in Central Europe. The threat perceptions concerning Finland have, however, not changed.


The Parliament's Constitutional Committee accepted the revision of the Constitution largely as drafted by the government. In the new Constitution, the election of the President would become an indirect, two-stage popular election and the Presidential incumbency would be limited to two consecutive terms.

Commanding General of the Defence Forces Valtanen said in his order of the day that Western European integration and rapid changes in Eastern Europe have hardly had any effect on the basic goals and tasks of Finland's security policy. The breaking-up of old power structures in Europe has brought to the fore pressures for changes that can break out in an unforeseeable way and cause security problems. Therefore, the defence forces must continue to act and be developed using known principles.

The protocol for the exchange of commodities in 1990 between Finland and the Soviet Union was signed in Moscow by Minister of Trade and Industry Suominen and Soviet Minister for External Economic Relations Katushev. Trade will remain at the 1989 level. The total value of Finnish imports is approximately FIM 13 billion, while exports stand at FIM 14—15 billion. The export of machines and instruments will be expanded and export in the fields of shipbuilding, construction work and consumer products will diminish. The import of energy will continue to dominate the 1990 figures. The direct trade of companies not included in the protocol will also grow.


In a statement by Foreign Minister Paasio on sending American troops to Panama, it was emphasised that international disputes should be solved through negotiation and without resorting to violence. Therefore, it was most regrettable that the situation in Panama had developed into a military conflict.

Foreign Minister Paasio noted that the Commanding General of the Defence Forces should not interfere in the conduct of foreign policy the way he did in his 19.12. order of the day. The conduct of foreign policy belongs to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and it is up to the President to decide who is entitled to make public speeches concerning this topic.


In the UN Security Council Session devoted to Panama, Finland suggested that the Security Council demand an immediate ceasefire in Panama and the withdrawal of U.S. troops to their bases. A military intervention is a disproportionate response to events in Panama, although drug trafficking and other illegalities can not be accepted.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs presented its plans for development cooperation for the years 1991-1994. There will be a decrease in the amount of aid given to countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Peru, Somalia and Burma, due to their internal situations. According to the plan, aid would total FIM 1.2 billion in 1993. Finland then began the preparatory work needed to ensure long-term development aid for Namibia.


The Finnish government stated its hope that developments in Romania would take a peaceful course after the ousting of party leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

Commanding General of the Defence Forces Valtanen denied interfering in the conduct of foreign policy, as Foreign Minister Paasio had suggested.


The Finnish government discussed the situation of Romania. In the meeting, a decision concerning an aid package worth FIM 3 million was taken. The money will be spent on purchases of medicine and hospital accessories by the Finnish Red Cross. Foreign Minister Paasio stressed that the new Romanian leadership enjoyed the full support of the Finnish government.


The Finnish government decided to send FIM 3 million of additional aid to Romania. A telegram sent by Prime Minister Holkeri to the Romanian Salvation Front expressed Finnish solidarity.