In his New Year's speech President Mauno Koivisto said that Finland's international position had been very stable during the past decades. He noted that the Russian elections less than a month ago evoked discussion in Finland, but in his view there was no cause for hasty conclusions. According to President Koivisto there are good chances for stable co-operation between Finland and Russia.
The European Economic Space formed by the European Union and the five member countries of EFTA started off at the beginning of the year. EES is the world's largest free trade area, with 372 million people within its sphere.
Finland and Russia will enter into official cooperation in crime prevention. The President of the Republic approved the agreement on cooperation that was signed last March.
Prime Minister Aho visited three EU countries, Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The visits were a part of the Government's effort to try and influence the EU countries in order to obtain a satisfactory result in Finland's EU membership negotiations.
Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen visited Brussels, where he met the member of the EU Commission responsible for EU membership negotiations Hans van den Broek, the member responsible for the foreign economic relations of the Commission Sir Leon Brittan and the ambassador of the new chairing country Greece Alexandros Saphiriou.
In a summit of the leaders of NATO countries held in Brussels it was agreed to offer the Partnership for peace agreement approved on 10.1 to all non-NATO CSCE countries, including the Asian CSCE countries that have disengaged themselves from the former Soviet Union. At the same time NATO postponed decisions on the enlargement of the organization into the distant future.
In Kuopio the Minister for Foreign Affairs stated that the eventual acceptance of the NATO Partnership for peace ideology is not military alignment and it does not affect Finland's neutrality. Haavisto sees partnership for peace as a positive solution, because it strengthens security in Europe and is in that respect in line with Finland's basic objectives. On the other hand, Haavisto believes that Finland has no need for this kind of additional security and thus the agreement is not regarded as necessary. Haavisto also noted that Finland's decision concerning the EU is not connected with the decision on partnership for peace.
According to information published in Helsingin Sanomat the Russian Embassy has presented a written note to Finland pertaining to the activities of two Finnish associations. The note questioned if the activities of the new Patriotic National League and the Greater Finland Society are in harmony with the Treaty of Paris.
In negotiations held in Moscow Finland and Russia reached a principle agreement on settling a part of the Soviet Union's old trade debts by arms purchases.
The Cabinet Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the NATO Partnership for peace initiative in its meeting. According to the Foreign Affairs Committee, Finland is interested in participating in co-operation related to Partnership for peace suggested by NATO by placing its expertise in peacekeeping cooperation at other countries’ disposal.
Head of the Press Department in the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs Grigori Karasin announced that the Russian note to Finland's Ministry for Foreign Affairs concerning the activities of Patriotic National League and Greater Finland Society was a matter based on the discretion of Russian Ambassador to Finland Yuri Derjabin.
The Government decided to purchase arms, maintenance, operating and training systems worth FIM 4.42 billion for The Defence Forces' Hornet fighter planes. The price calculations were based on last year's price level and the period of payments is from the present year to year 2001.
The Foreign Minister of the present EU chairing country Greece Theodoros Pangalos visited Finland. In the discussions Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto said that Finland wishes that the EU expedite its work, so that the membership negotiations could be concluded by the beginning of March.
Finland officially reported that it considers Russia, the Baltic countries and Hungary safe countries for their own citizens. This means that the petitions for asylum of these nationalities may be handled in one day. Consequently, seekers of asylum can be turned back at the border, unless they present some specific arguments.
Nordic movements objecting to EU membership assembled in Helsinki in order to strengthen their co-operation as the EU referendum approaches.
Prime Minister Aho and Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen met member of the EU Commission responsible for the Commission's external relations Hans van den Broek in Brussels. From Brussels Prime Minister Aho travelled to Strasbourg, where he gave a speech at the Council for Europe parliamentarian’s meeting. 26.1. Aho travelled to Madrid where he discussed Finland’s membership with the Foreign Minister of Spain Felipe Gonzales.
The first parliamentarians’ meeting of the common economic area of EU and EFTA, EES, began in the EU Parliament building in Brussels.
Foreign Ministers of the Nordic countries led by Sweden convened in Stockholm. The agenda covered security in northern Europe and questions of stability, situation in Russia and in the Baltic countries, and situation in former Yugoslavia.
The first congress of the European Green League formed by 30 European Green parties was held in Vienna, Austria. Representative of Finland's Green League Pekka Sauri was elected co-chairman of the European Green League together with Niki Kortvelyessy from Great Britain.
Member of EU Commission Raniero Vanni d'Archirafi visited Finland. D'Archirafi believed that open differences concerning the Union's institutions will be settled fairly soon. Under no circumstances will they hinder the accession of new members, he said.
Secretary of State Martti Ahtisaari won the presidential election. Ahtisaari thus became the tenth president of Finland. He will assume office on March 1st. Ahtisaari gained over 1.7 million votes and beat his opponent, Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn finally by nearly a quarter of a million votes. The share of votes for Ahtisaari was 53.9% and for Rehn 46.1%. The Election turnout percentage was 82.3.
In Brussels, the European Union gave Finland negotiation positions for regional matters and agriculture, which were in many essential points even stricter from the Finnish perspective than the proposals of EU Commission in November 1993.
In his speech at the opening of the Session of the Parliament president Koivisto expressed his wish that the division of responsibilities in foreign policy decision-making be made clearer and more responsibility be transferred to the Government. Koivisto pointed out that it had been his duty to parliamentarise the presidential powers. He characterized the development of presidential powers during his presidencies as follows: increasing of parliamentary power, the clear dependency of the government on the will of the Parliament and cuts on presidential powers. The President stressed that the role of the Prime Minister in foreign policy decisions must be strengthened.
Finland decided to propose Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn as candidate for the Presidency of UNICEF.
In an interview in newspaper Suomenmaa Prime Minister Aho said that Finland could settle for an EES agreement, if the conditions for agriculture will not be accepted in the EU negotiations.
In the UN Security Council Finland supported NATO's threat to use air strikes if necessary in Bosnia. Simultaneously, Finland stressed the threat of escalation of war. Finland's first priority was to find a solution through negotiations.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto visited Germany. He met his counterpart Klaus Kinkel in Bonn. Principal themes of the visit were current issues in EU membership negotiations.
In an interview published in Suomen Kuvalehti ambassador to Russia Yuri Derjabin, currently in Helsinki, said that it might be good to renew the interpretation of the Treaty of Paris. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland stated on 18.2. that the Government of Finland has not planned any motion with respect to the Treaty of Paris. Nor are any measures to renew the interpretation of the Treaty considered timely.
Prime Minister Aho met the Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland in Hamar, Norway. In the meeting the prime ministers announced that they had taken a joint standing on the agricultural negotiations with EU.
In the seventh ministerial meeting in Brussels Finland and the EU reached a mutual understanding of the so-called package solution, which includes land, fishing, free-time dwellings and ensuring transport connections. Consequently, Finland has reached agreement on 22 of the 29 chapters.
The French European Minister Alan Lamassoure visited Finland. He assured that France will support Finland's EU membership and the dispute on paper exports will not affect EU negotiations.
Prime Minister Aho of Finland, Carl Bildt of Sweden and Gro Harlem Brundland of Norway met in Helsinki at Prime Minister Aho's invitation. The main topics of the discussion were the core issues of EU membership negotiations. The prime ministers noted that despite extensive cooperation the countries would make their decisions on national grounds.
Finland Sweden and Austria reached a draft agreement on the conditions of EU membership in Brussels. The agreement was preceded by a tough round of negotiations. The Finnish delegation in Brussels was led by Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen and Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto, who arrived in Belgium on 25.2.
The most difficult issue proved to be agriculture. Of the last minute concessions EU made, the most important for Finland was the permanent support for agriculture. The support does not cover the whole country, but a statement was enclosed in the result according to which support of some kind can be appropriated to the whole country, if necessary. The result is only a political agreement. A judicial agreement cannot be signed yet, because two chapters, institutions and economic and monetary union remained unsettled due to dispute within the EU. The result includes the foreign and security policy part. In the negotiations, Finland engaged itself in accepting the Maastricht Treaty and thus also the objective written down in it of the common foreign and security policy of EU.
The powers of the President of the Republic of Finland were transferred from Mauno Koivisto to Martti Ahtisaari. In the foreign policy part of his inauguration speech the President of the Republic Martti Ahtisaari promised to do everything in his power to stop EU membership from becoming an issue that divides the nation. He regarded membership as an opportunity. Ahtisaari said he would carry out foreign and security policy in accordance with the parliamentary tradition, in other words in co-operation with the Government and the Parliament. He had a high regard for good neighbourly relations and for preventing a new division of Europe. Ahtisaari praised his predecessor Mauno Koivisto. He maintained that President Koivisto's contribution in the strengthening of the rules of parliamentarism had been historical.
The 44th Session of the Nordic Council was held in Stockholm. The main themes of the Council were EU membership and EU referendum. The statement enclosed in the EU agreement said that Nordic co-operation would continue within the EU.
The President of the Republic appointed the current Chief of Army Main Headquarters lieutenant general Gustav Hägglund as the next Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Hägglund will assume his position as Commander-in-Chief next November, when Admiral Jan Klenberg retires.
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Tshernomyrdin accompanied by an economic delegation visited Finland. In the discussions economy had first priority. Among other things, the economic commission between the two countries will start working again. Other topics were the situation in Europe, European Union, reforms in Russia and the situation in the former Soviet Union.
Finland sent more peacekeeping forces to the Balkans. At the request of UN a guard patrol of 39 soldiers was sent to Croatia to assist in a UNPROFOR operation. Finland already has a battalion of 230 men in Macedonia assisting in the UN's Yugoslavia operation.
The European Minister of Greece Theodoros Pangalos, who led the EU enlargement negotiations, said that enlarging the European Union was a mistake. Pangalossaid that decision-making power of the EU will be at risk in the future. He thinks that the EU should have taken care of the revision of its structures and its economy before going ahead with the enlargement.
An agreement was signed in Paris, according to which Finland will become the 14th member state of the European Space Association ESA next January. A full membership will grant Finland access to all research projects and space technology within the sphere of ESA.
In Brussels Finland gave an account at ministerial level of the differences arising of the content of the negotiation result in the final stages of the EU membership negotiations. According to Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto and Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen the disputed matters were solved in a way that the Finnish believed to have agreed in the negotiations, but that the Commission’s officials for agriculture had then denied.
The Government made a principle decision on extending Finland's territorial waters from the present 4 nautical miles to 12 nautical miles, which is the maximum width of territorial waters allowed by international law. Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto stated that Finland's internal security is the central reason for extending territorial waters.
The Prime Minister of Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus paid an official visit to Finland. The main subject of discussions was the KEVSOS free trade agreement between Finiand and the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe. As Finland joins EU, free trade with these countries will have to be given up.
The Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported that government officials from different countries have assembled regularly in Stockholm since the summer of 1992 as a result of Sweden's initiative to discuss the situation in the Baltic countries. Officials from the USA, Italy, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland have attended the meetings. The working group has not been made public, but rather the activities of the group have been kept as unofficial as possible.
The chances of Finland and three other countries applying for EU membership to join the Union according to an agreed timetable were confirmed when Britain agreed to a compromise in a persistent quarrel overqualified minority rule. The dispute threatened to slow down the accession of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Austria to the European Union, because it would have mixed up the timetable for the referendums to be held in the countries in question. In practice the decision of the British government means that the membership of the mentioned countries can be effective from the beginning of 1995 depending on the referendums.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs published preliminary calculations on how much Finland should pay during its first year of membership 1995 to the EU budget in the form of different membership payments and how much subsidies Finland could receive for agriculture and for regional development programmes. Contrary to forecasts, it seemed that EU would be the net recipient by FIM 350 million. Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto estimated that in a few years’ time Finland will pay in to the EU budget FIM 2-3 billion more than it will receive from the Union's funds.
The political part of Finland's EU negotiations was concluded in Brussels. Finland and the EU reached agreements on economic policy and on Finland's participation in the decision-making in the EU as expected. Finland received 4 votes in the EU Council of Ministers, where the total number of votes is 90 and the qualified minority rule is usually 27 votes.
The Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovski arrived in Helsinki, where he attended a seminar on 5.4., which dealt with the chances of Russia becoming a member of the Council of Europe.
The Constitutional Committee led by the Secretary General of the Parliament Seppo Tiitinen submitted its report. The views of the Committee were very much in line with the doctrine of the former President of the Republic Mauno Koivisto. In view of the Committee the Prime Minister will, as a rule, represent Finland in EU summits.
President Martti Ahtisaari took a strong stand in favour of EU membership by pointing out that remaining outside would be ‘quite a misfortune’.
In an interview with Ilta-Sanomat Vice- Chairman of the Centre Party Olli Rehn stressed that Finland should seriously consider membership in the western military alliance NATO due to unstable developments in Russia.
Finland, Sweden and Norway finished the final formulation of their EU membership agreements in Brussels. The negotiations of these countries were thus officially concluded. The agreements will still be discussed in the EU Parliament and in the parliaments of applicant countries. Furthermore, a referendum on the issue will be held in each country.
President Ahtisaari and Mrs Ahtisaari paid their first official visit to Sweden. The themes of the visit included improvement in the status of the Finns living in Sweden with regard to language and ethnic issues, border control in Tornionlaakso, the Baltic question, the economy of Sweden and the relations between Sweden and Finland.
A delegation from the Russian Duma led by Chairman of the Duma Ivan Rybkin visited Finland. Chairman Rybkin hoped that Finland would act as a mediator in the dispute between Russia and the Baltic countries.
President Ahtisaari made an official decision according to which Finland will join the Partnership for peace programme outlined by the western military alliance NATO. Finland's objective is to sign the agreement approximately at the same time as Sweden, at the beginning of May. The Government has announced that Finland will participate as a giving party and only in separately stipulated co-operation: peacekeeping, particularly in the training of peacekeeping forces; search, rescue and humanitarian operations; educational exchange and environmental protection. Finland does not want to participate in the joint military manoeuvres of the NATO countries and former Warsaw Pact countries.
According to a survey 47% of Finns are in favour of Finland's EU membership, 31% were against membership. 21% of the interviewed were uncertain of their opinion. Most of those in favour of membership argued that Finland could not manage if it remained outside EU.
The Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt rejected the idea of co-operation between Finland and Sweden in matters of security policy, apart from peacekeeping operations. Bildt commented on the proposal made by Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sweden Bengt Gustafsson, which suggested that the Nordic countries formed an alliance after their EU membership had become effective.
The EU Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs and Security approved the reports concerning EU membership of Finland, Austria, Norway and Sweden.
Thirty members of the WEU political committee visited Finland, where they met, among others, Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto and Minister of Defence Rehn.
The EU Parliament approved the membership agreements of Finland, Austria, Norway and Sweden by an overwhelming majority. In the final vote 377 voted for Finland's membership, 21 voted against it and 61 abstained. 259 votes were needed for the approval. 305 members objected to the adjournment of the vote, 150 supported it.
In an interview with the Financial Times Prime Minister Esko Aho suspected that the plan to enlarge EU will be jeopardized if Sweden should decide to remain outside EU after a referendum. He feared that in that case some member countries of EU might refuse to ratify the membership agreements of Finland, Austria and Norway.
Finland and Sweden became the 16th and 17th countries to join the NATO Partnership for peace programme. Foreign Ministers Heikki Haavisto and Margaretha af Ugglas signed an agreement on the issue in Brussels. Finland joined with a minimal programme. In connection with the signing both countries emphasized that taking part in Partnership for peace does not change the basic tenets of their foreign policies. Minister Haavisto pointed out that the principles of Finland's foreign and security policies are military non-alliance and an independent and credible defence.
The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that the United States would be glad to see Finland and Sweden as members of NATO after the countries had joined the European Union. According to the paper's US sources chances for NATO membership are very good.
President Ahtisaari considers the enlargement of the European Union the most important factor promoting stability in our continent.
The meeting of the EU foreign ministers finally approved the membership agreements of Finland and the three other applicant countries. After the approval Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto participated in the EU foreign ministers' meeting with three colleagues from the other applicant countries as observers. From now on the applicant countries will systematically take part in EU meetings, said Chairman of the Council of Foreign ministers Theodoros Pangalos of Greece.
The Council of Ministers of European Economic Space EES member countries convened in Brussels. Finland at least is going to withdraw from EFTA and EES on the same day as the EU membership enters into force. Finland will pay its share of the EES and EFTA expenses for a while even after the withdrawal.
President Ahtisaari paid an official visit to Russia, where he met President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Viktor Tshernomyrdin, Chairman of the Federal Council Vladimir Shumeiko and Chairman of the Duma Ivan Rybkin. Discussions covered the EU, international questions, security policy in Europe, current issues related to Bosnia and the Baltic countries and trade between Finland and Russia.
A delegation from the Parliament Foreign Affairs Conunittee visited the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Duma. When the Karelia question was discussed, the Chairman of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Vladimir Lukin said that a majority of both the Duma and of the people are against cession of territories.
Minister of Defence Rehn participated in the first meeting of the Ministers of Defence of the countries that joined NATO Partnership for peace in Brussels. In the meeting Minister of Defence Rehn proposed that Finland should also join the WEU as an observer member as it joins the EU. Further, she said that Finland should make a decision concerning its membership in the WEU and NATO before the 1996 conference.
The Government of Esko Aho agreed on the national support package for agriculture related to Finland's EU membership and on the date of the consultative referendum and on next year's taxes. The EU referendum will be held on 16.10. Of the countries seeking accession to the EU, Austria will be the first to hold a referendum, Finland the second, Sweden the third and Norway the fourth.
President Ahtisaari paid an official visit to Estonia. The discussions revealed that Finland will not be needed as a mediator in the dispute between Estonia and Russia concerning the withdrawal of the Russian military troops. Ahtisaari noted that good relations between Estonia and Russia are also in the interest of Finland. He also said that Finland will support prompt EU membership of Estonia.
The Ministers of Defence of the Nordic and the Baltic countries assembled for the first time in Visby, Gotland. In the meeting security in the Baltic Sea area and joint actions in the Partnership for peace programme of the western military alliance NATO were discussed.
An international Bilderberg Conference was held in the congress hotel Kalastajatorppa in Helsinki, which was attended by 115 experts of international economy and politics. Subjects under debate were prospects of employment within West European industry, the future of Russia and the effects of different development trends in the rest of Europe.
President Ahtisaari said that he would attend the EU summit in Corfu. Whether he intends to represent Finland in summits in the future, is an open issue.
Prime Minister Aho visited Brussels, where he met the Prime Minister of Belgium Jean-Luc Dehaene and the President of the European Commission Jacques Delors. Topics brought up in the discussions were questions concerning Finland's EU membership negotiations, in particular the support for agriculture.
A working group from the Ministry of Justice proposed that Finland's EU parliamentary election be held on 1.10.1995 separately from other elections. In addition to Finnish citizens, all EU citizens living in Finland would be entitled to vote. The report suggests that instead of parry lists, persons would be voted for. Finland would form one electoral district, but in order to ensure regional balance, the country would be divided into four electoral zones.
The European Minister of the current EU chairing country Greece, Theodoros Pangalos, arrived in Finland to discuss with the political leaders of Finland the EU summit to be held in Greek Corfu. Pangalos met with President Ahtisaari, Prime Minister Aho, Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto and Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen.
In a supplementary presidential introduction President Martti Ahtisaari gave the authority to sign the treaty on Finland's accession to EU in Greek Corfu on 24.6. The Finnish delegation attending the summit will be led by President Ahtisaari, whose intention it is to henceforth attend EU summits when issues of foreign policy are on the agenda.
The Parliament unanimously passed a law stating that the consultative referendum on Finland's accession to EU will be held on Sunday 16.10.
European Union summit was held in Greek Corfu. Main themes were employment and selecting a new chairman for the EU Commission. The Finnish delegation of 19 attendants led by President Ahtisaari arrived in Corfu 23.6.
The member states of the EU and the representatives of applicant countries Finland, Sweden, Norway and Austria signed an accession treaty in St. George's church. Prime Minister Aho, Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto, Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen and Secretary of State Veli Sundbäck signed the treaty on behalf of Finland. The prime ministers of the Nordic countries started up a new practice, according to which they will always discuss issues on the agenda prior to a EU conference.
Minister of Trade and Industry Seppo Kääriäinen took part in a meeting of EU research ministers held in Luxembourg. The meeting was the first that Finland attended as an active observer since the signing of the EU Treaty.
The Chinese Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen visited Finland. President Ahtisaari assured the guest that Finland's possible membership in the EU will not harm trade between Finland and China.
Representatives of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a fact-finding agreement on a risk capital fund planned for north-western Russia. The purpose of the preliminary survey is to map the investment possibilities small and medium-sized companies before the decision of the establishment of the actual fund is taken.
The CSCE Parliamentary Assembly gathered in Vienna, led by Chief Executive Ilkka Suominen. A delegation of ten persons participated from Finland.
The Meeting of the Nordic Prime Ministers was held at Kerimäki and hosted by Prime Minister Esko Aho. In addition to Aho, the meeting was attended by Prime Minister David Oddson of Iceland, Prime Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden, Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway, and Prime Minister Paul Nyrup Rasmussen of Denmark. Topics of the meeting included the European situation, Nordic cooperation and the effect of the expansion of the European Union on it.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs informed that President Ahtisaari would head the Finnish delegation to the EU Summit in Brussels on 15 July. Prime Minister Aho will not attend the Summit. The President has had a different view from that of the Government and the parties on who should represent Finland in the Summits. Ahtisaari sees that the President should decide case by case, whether he or the Prime Minister should attend a meeting.
President of the Republic decided that the Finnish UN peacekeeping troops in Macedonia will be expanded into a battalion. An additional force of 196 persons will be sent to Macedonia. At present, there are 225 Finns in Macedonia. As the Swedes and the Norwegians are leaving Macedonia, the Secreteriat of the UN has asked Finland for additional troops. The costs of the additional troops for this year are FIM 20.4 million.
Foreign Minister Heikki Haavisto participated in the EU Conference of Foreign Ministers in Brussels. Finland, Sweden, and Norway jointly supported the striving of the EU to make possible the membership of Eastern European countries.
The President of Estonia Lennart Meri paid a private visit to Finland together with his wife.
The international Chydenius Seminar gathered top names in politics and economics into Kokkola in Finland. The main guest of the Seminary was President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors. Keynote speakers of the seminar included also President Mauno Koivisto, Chief Executive of the ABB Group Percy Barnevik, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Trade Charles Meissner, Minister for Foreign Trade Pertti Salolainen, and Russian Minister for Economic External Relations Oleg Davydov. The Seminar concentrated on the freedom of international trade and Europe's position in the world. The main guest, Delors, stayed in Finland from 21 to 23 July. He met President Ahtisaari, Prime Minister Aho and Paavo Lipponen, the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party. Aho and Delors discussed the support package for Finnish agriculture, and the timetable of the EU for the remaining year.
Statements given by the parties in Parliament on the memorandum of the committee on the renewal of the Constitution revealed that the parties in Parliament are in favour of strengthening the powers of the Government and the Parliament in foreign policy decision-making. The memorandum and all the parties in Parliament agreed that the Prime Minister should mainly represent Finland in the EU Summits.
Kurdish guerrillas took two Finnish tourists as hostages in Eastern Turkey. The Finnish men were on a private car trip, and were seized as guerrillas of the Kurdish workers' party PKK held a check-point on the road from Erzincan to Dersim.
Finland and Russia signed, in Helsinki, an agreement on rescue service cooperation between the countries.
Prime Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden, and Minister of European Affairs Ulf Dinkelspiel paid a private visit to Finland. Main topics of the discussion were the economies of Finland and Sweden and questions concerning the EU.
The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, Han Sung Joo, paid an official visit to Finland.
A working group of NACC gathered for the first time in Helsinki. The purpose of the group was to evaluate environmental damage caused by military sources in the Baltic Sea, and to give a recommendation for the reparation of the damages. The investigation is a part of a larger account, which includes damage in Arctic areas. The participants were restricted to the representatives of the countries of the area. Experts from Russia, the Baltic States, Germany, and Norway participated. The president country of the working group was Norway.
Deputy Minister Tim Eggar of Great Britain, responsible for energy issues, visited Finland. According to Minister Eggar, Britain expects support for guidelines in energy policy in the European Union if Finland becomes a member in the EU. He hoped that Finland and Britain could jointly assure the other member states on the importance of privatisation and free competition also in the energy business.
In the summer meeting of the chairs of the Nordic Council which began on 23 August at Saariselkä, full membership of the Sami in the Council was not passed. The chairs accepted Finland's proposal for the preparation of a programme on Europe. The objective of the programme is to tighten Nordic cooperation in relation to the European Union. The founding of a Nordic information office in St Petersburg was also discussed. The idea was introduced by Prime Minister Aho in the Stockholm meeting of the previous spring.
By a decision of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland supports the UN program in Rwanda with FIM 400,000. The grant is used to send human rights observers to Rwanda. The purpose is to send altogether twenty observers in addition to the six observers already present in Rwanda. The observers act in cooperation with the UN relief forces in Rwanda (UNAMIR) and with humanitarian relief organizations in the area. Finland has aided victims of the Rwandan crisis this year with altogether FIM 14.3 million.
The Government presented to the Parliament the passing of the Treaty of Accession to the EU and its enforcement. The Government's proposal was prepared by cooperation among all the ministries, led by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Parliament began discussion on the issue immediately from the beginning of the autumn term on 6 September.
Party leader and former Prime Minister of Russia, Yegor Gaidar, visited Helsinki.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin thanked President Ahtisaari by letter for "the promotion of the success of the Estonian-Russian Summit". The letter referred to the negotiations between President Yeltsin and Estonian President Lennart Meri in Moscow in the end of July, on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia. Ahtisaari was in contact with Yeltsin and Meri before the negotiations.
The Commander of the Swedish Defence Forces, General Owe Wiktorin, paid an official visit to Finland.
Kurdish guerrillas freed the Finnish tourists they had kidnapped in Eastern Turkey. Foreign Minister Haavisto said he was happy for the release of the Finns and expressed that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs had not at any stage negotiated with terrorists.
As Russian troops had officially withdrawn from Latvia and Estonia, the Nordic foreign ministers met their Baltic counterparts in Palanga, Lithuania. In the meeting in which the Baltic States emphasized security problems, the Finnish and Swedish foreign ministers expressed that the Baltic States should be included in the European economic family, and that the Baltic States should normalise their relationships with Russia as soon as possible. Prime Minister Haavisto said that Finland would support Baltic intentions for membership in the EU, after Finland becomes a member of the Union.
As Russian troops had officially withdrawn from Latvia and Estonia, the Nordic foreign ministers met their Baltic counterparts in Palanga, Lithuania. In the meeting in which the Baltic States emphasized security problems, the Finnish and Swedish foreign ministers expressed that the Baltic States should be included in the European economic family, and that the Baltic States should normalise their relationships with Russia as soon as possible. Prime Minister Haavisto said that Finland would support Baltic intentions for membership in the EU, after Finland becomes a member of the Union.
The Nordic movements against the EU, which had founded a cooperation organ called the Nordic Alternative for the EU, gathered on the Danish island of Bornholm at the same time with the Nordic prime ministers. The meeting concentrated especially on the Finnish referendum.
According to an opinion poll published on 2 September, support for Finnish membership in the EU had clearly decreased among Finns eligible to vote from the beginning of the summer. According to a poll conducted in the turn of August and September, 38% of citizens in the required voting age were of the opinion that Finland should join the European Union according to the negotiated agreement. In the previous poll of from June, 47% of the adult population was in favour of membership. The number of those against membership in the EU had simultaneously grown 9%, from 27 to 36%.
The farmers' organization MTK took an expected negative position to Finnish membership in the EU in Tampere. The General Assembly of MTK made the decision unanimously. The General Assembly expressed that the terms agreed by Finland did not guarantee sufficient conditions for the continuation of agriculture.
Iraq cancelled the closing of its embassy in Helsinki. In May, Iraq reported that it would close embassies in 15 countries, including Finland. Iraq explained the cancellation of the decision with "a willingness to maintain good relations with Finland."
An estimated 12,000 to 15,000 delegates arrived to the fourth Population Conference of the UN in Cairo. The Finnish delegation to the Conference was led by Defence Minister Rehn.
In the recent issue of Nordisk Kontakt, the magazine of the Nordic Council, MP Paavo Väyrynen reintroduced the idea of the Nordic Community. According to him, the Nordic Community can offer a real alternative to membership in the European Union. Väyrynen regarded the Nordic Community a clearly better and more profitable solution than EU membership.
As the Parliament began its discussion on Finnish EU membership, Prime Minister Aho and Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen assured that membership in the Union will not take away Finnish independence.
Prime Minister Aho paid an official visit to Poland, where he met with President Lech Walesa, Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak, and the chairs of both houses of the Parliament. In the meetings were discussed above all European integration, economic ties between the countries, and cooperation among the Baltic countries.
The Commander of the Estonian Navy, Commodore Roland Leit, paid a work visit to Finland.
President of the Republic Ahtisaari, together with his wife, paid a state visit to Denmark. In an occasion of the Danish Society for international Affairs, President Ahtisaari delivered a speech in which he said that Finland's joining the EU would be, in time, a safer solution for farmers than staying outside.
According to a statement issued by the Supreme Court, the Åland Islands are allowed to organize an own referendum on the EU membership of the Islands.
On the German island of Usedom, an unofficial meeting of the EU foreign ministers was held, which was also attended by the foreign ministers of the four EU applicant countries. The main issue was the situation in Bosnia. A central topic was also the disputed proposal prepared by the German Christian Democratic Party according to which the EU would, in the future, be divided into two.
A Protocol of Cooperation among the Nordic countries, the Baltic states and Great Britain on the training of a Baltic peacekeeping battalion was signed in Copenhagen.
Foreign Minister Haavisto paid an official visit to Turkey. Topics of discussion of the visit were, among others, bilateral relations between Finland and Turkey, prospects for the two countries and their environs, political and economic integration in Europe and the security structures of the continent, and human rights questions.
The Commander of the Latvian Defence Forces, Colonel Dainis Turlais, paid a work visit to Finland.
Representatives of eleven countries of the Baltic region agreed, in SaItsjöbaden in Sweden, to intensify cooperation in the fight against international crime.
The Cabinet Committee for Foreign Affairs decided that fifteen civilian observers from Finland will leave for the border between Bosnia and Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to supervise traffic in the border area.
In a foreign ministers' meeting begun at Tromsø, Norway, the presidency of the Barents Council was transferred from Norway to Finland. The chairman of the meeting, Foreign Minister Heikki Haavisto expressed that the EU must be more closely involved in cooperation in the Barents area. Membership in the EU of the Nordic countries would ensure, according to Haavisto, the Union's participation in the cooperation.
In an interview in the Oulu-based newspaper Kaleva, Prime Minister Aho stated that the Parliament does not have to speed up its decision to join the European Union. The Parliament does not have to, according to Aho, make its decision before Sweden takes a stand.
Prime Minjster Aho visited Portugal. The main topics of discussion of the visit were the European Union and its future. Aho stated in Lisbon that Finland is not applying for membership in the European Union only for economical, but also for security reasons. He figured that this aspect had been strengthened due to changes in Europe during the past years.
The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alex II, arrived for an over than a week-long visit to Finland.
The Commander of the Defence Forces, Admiral Jan Klenberg, visited Russia.
Finance Minister liro Viinanen participated in a meeting of ministers from twelve EU countries and seven EFTA countries in Brussels. The meeting discussed deficits in state economies and their reductions. Viinanen figured that a negative result in Finland's referendum for EU membership would force into budget cuts.
The EU joined the 1974 Baltic Sea Protection Agreement (the Helsinki Agreement). The head of the EU's representation in Finland, Ambassador Eric Hayes, submitted the documents of membership to Foreign Minister Heikki Haavisto.
Minister of Foreign Trade Pertti Salolainen travelled to Brussels, where he met Sir Leon Brittan and lonnis Paleokrassis, members of the EU Commission, on 22 September. During the meeting it became evident that that political will to begin new negotiations with Finland or some other candidate does not exist among the EU Member States, if the candidate countries reject their EU membership agreements.
A parliamentary delegation, led by Speaker of Parliament Riitta Uosukainen, paid an official visit to Estonia.
According to MP Olli Rehn, Finland should strive for the position of the Commissar of Eastern Affairs. Rehn advised the Government to inform the new chairman of the Commission of this objective. According to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland will not - in contrast to Norway - make a proposal before the referendum.
Prime Minister Esko Aho paid an unofficial visit to Berlin and Hamburg.
Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn paid an official visit to Austria.
Political Under-secretary of State of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Jaakko Blomberg assessed that Finland must, immediately after EU membership has become a fact, examine how it will participate in the activities of the West European Union (WEU). Blomberg held that it is in the interests of Finland's security that Finland participates in crisis management operations that are likely to be executed by the EU within the framework of the WEU. According to Blomberg, Finland should define the resources, structures, and conditions on which our participation would lean on, well before the 1996 conference.
The Parliamentary Defence Committee assessed that observer membership in the West European Union (WEU) may eventually lead Finland into NATO membership.
Retired President Mauno Koivisto said he is in favour of Finland's membership in the European Union. Koivisto did not regard a referendum the best possible means of making the decision, for it doesn't fit well with Finnish parliamentary democracy. Koivisto was in favour of sending the prime minister to represent Finland in the EU summits.
The Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs, led by Chairman Pertti Paasio, visited Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian areas.
The environmental ministers of the EU gathered in Luxembourg, led by Germany's Environmental Minister Klaus Töpfer. Finland's delegation was led by Minister for Environment Sirpa Pietikäinen.
The Commander of the Swiss Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Artur Liedner paid a work visit to Finland.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund held their annual general meetings in Madrid, Spain. Finland's delegation was led by Finance Minister liro Viinanen and Chief Executive Sirkka Hämäläinen of the Bank of Finland.
Defence Minister Elisabeth Rehn paid an official visit to the Czech Republic.
The news agency Inter Press Service granted President Manti Ahtisaari the annual international Achievement Prize for his long-time contributions in tasks of international developmental cooperation, of which his work for the independence of Namibia was especially mentioned.
The II joint meeting of the Finnish-Russian intergovernmental economic cooperation commission was held in Helsinki. The meeting was chaired from the Finnish side by Minister of Trade and Industry Seppo Kääriäinen, and from the Russian side by Minister of External Economic Relations O.D. Davydov. Current questions of Finnish-Russian trade and cooperation were discussed.
Prime Minister Esko Aho said that it is justifiable for Finland to apply for observer status in the West European Union, if Finland becomes a member in the EU. He regarded this as the best solution for Finnish national interests, and he also found the solution in harmony with Finnish policies.
Foreign Minister Heikki Haavisto visited the Ukraine, where he met with President Leonid Kutchma and Foreign Minister Gennady Udovenko.
In a press release published on 14 October, it was made public that the NATO Partership-for-Peace Programme tailored for Finland had been completed, and that its implementation had begun.
Finland's membership in the European Union received the support of the voters in the consultative referendum. 1.6 million citizens voted in favour of membership in the EU, while 1.2 million voted against. The Yes votes constituted 56.9 per cent of all eligible votes, while the No votes constituted 43.1 per cent. Empty or otherwise non-eligible votes totalled less than 15,000 altogether. Over 2.8 million citizens participated in the referendum. The voting percentage (votes given within Finland) was 74%.
Sweden's new Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallén paid the first visit of her term to Finland.
President Ahtisaari paid an official state visit to Norway, where he met with King Harald V and Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.
A supplementary group of 105 peacekeepers left Finland for Macedonia. After this the total number of Finnish peacekeepers was 420.
UN Ombudsman for Human Rights Jose Ayala Lasso visited Finland.
Queen Elisabeth II and Prince Philip of England visited Finland on their way back from Russia.
Prime Minister Aho paid a work visit to Switzerland, where he met, among others, with leaders of the Swiss Federal Government.
Defence Minister Rehn paid an official visit to Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus.
A parliamentary delegation led by Speaker of the Parliament Riitta Uosukainen visited Poland.
President Ahtisaari appointed, against the will of the Government, Ambassador Erkki Liikanen as Finland's first Commissar in the European Commission.
The President-to-be of the European Commission, Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jacques Santer paid a work visit to Finland. EU policy in the future and questions related to Finnish membership were discussed. He was seen to promise an important portfolio to Finland's first Commissar in the EU.
Prime Minister Aho paid an official visit to the Republic of Korea. The Prime Minister was accompanied by a distinguished delegation of businessmen.
A president and a parliament were elected in Mozambique. Finland supported the organization of the elections both financially and by sending 26 observers.
The President of the Republic passed the agreement on regional environmental protection between Finland and Russia. The agreement aims at realising projects in KareIia, the Leningrad Area, Murmansk, Novgorod, and Pihkova. The President also enforced the agreement on water protection between Finland and Estonia.
As the EU Commission assigned tasks for the five-year term commencing in January, Finnish Commissar Erkki Liikanen was granted responsibility on the budget of the EU, as well as on administration and personnel. Liikanen is responsible for the Union's budget of nearly FIM 500 billion, and for the 15,000 employees of the Commission.
The foreign ministers of the 22 countries met for the first time in a joint meeting of foreign ministers in the EU's centre in Luxembourg. Present were the twelve Member States of the EU, the four countries applying for membership and with negotiated accords, and six countries of Eastern and Central Europe that strive to become members in the EU as soon as possible. Finland was represented by Foreign Minister Haavisto.
Defence Minister Thage G. Peterson of the new Swedish Government visited Finland. Minister Peterson said he regards Nordic defence policy as self-evident.
The Parliament began the first hearing of the Treaty of Accession between Finland and the referendum, which was on 13 November.
President and Mrs. Ahtisaari paid a work visit to the United States. During the visit President Ahtisaari met with President Clinton and former US Secretary of Trade Ronald H. Brown. President Clinton and President Ahtisaari discussed the membership of the Baltic states in the EU and developments in Russia.
Finance Minister liro Viinanen participated in the Meeting of the EU's Finance Ministers in Brussels, where highway E18 from Turku to St. Petersburg was included into the primary list of EU communication projects.
Defence Minister Linas Linkevicius of Lithuania paid an official visit to Finland.
The Swedish people voted in favour of membership in the EU. After the votes had been counted in the Yes vote won by 52.2% against 46.9%.
The Government presented to the Parliament a change in the nuclear energy law. According to the change, nuclear waste cannot be imported to Finland in the future, and after 1996 it cannot be exported either.
The Commander of the Defence Forces, General Gustav Hägglund, said that according to investigations by the military, Finland should found a new, well-equipped and well-trained standby brigade for international crisis management operations when joining the EU. The crisis brigade, capable of fast action, would also improve Finnish defence capability.
A Finnish delegation of eighteen people participated in the 45th session of the Nordic Council in Tromsø, Norway. The Council discussed how Nordic cooperation will be continued once Finland, Sweden, and Norway decide on their relations towards the European Union.
Namibian Minister for Mining and Energy Animba Toivo ja Toivo arrived for a visit in Finland.
The Parliament passed the bill on EU membership, by which Finland joins the Union. In the decisive vote of the third hearing, 152 members of parliament were in favour of membership, which was significantly more than the two-thirds majority required.
The Åland Islands said clearly "yes" to Islands' membership in the EU. The Yes votes took 73.7% of the votes. The voting percentage was 49%.
Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen visited Washington. The purpose of the visit was to enhance economic relations between Finland and the United States and discuss the effects of EU membership and the Uruguay round of GATT on trade and investments between the two countries. Regional cooperation in Finland's nearby area was also a topic.
Prime Minister Aho visited Scotland and England. The main topics of discussion were the EU, European security structures and NATO.
Foreign Minister Haavisto visited Russia, where he met with Russian Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev. Kozyrev hoped that Russia would benefit economically from Finland's membership in the European Union.
A meeting of the Nordic Defence ministers was held in Fredrikstad , Norway, where the Defence Ministers - except from Iceland decided to initiate broad cooperation on the development, acquiring, and maintenance of defence material.
A parliamentary delegation led by Speaker of Parliament Riitta Uosukainen visited Russia. The main purpose of the visit was to tell about the work of the Finnish Parliament as the Russians wanted advice on how bills are passed. The discussions included the minority status of Finnish-related peoples in Russia and environmental questions.
The Commander of the Defence Forces General Gustav Hägglund visited Sweden.
President and Mrs Ahtisaari paid an official visit to Germany. The main points of discussion were relations between Finland and Germany, the European Union, cooperation in the Baltic region, and the EU and CSCE Summits to be held in December.
The Bank of Finland joins the European Monetary System EMS, an arrangement among national banks.
Jacques de Larosiere, the Chief Executive of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, visited Finland.
In the Norwegian referendum on the EU, the voters rejected membership in the EU by clear numbers. Altogether 52.2% were against membership and 47.8% were in favour.
Jayaseelan Naidoo, who acts as a minister in the South African presidential office for rebuilding and development and is responsible for developmental cooperation, visited Finland.
Prime Minister Aho visited Brussels where he met with Belgian Prime Minister Jean Luc Dehaene and with Jacques Santer, the President-to- be of the EU. On 1 December Aho participated in the summit summoned by French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur in Paris. The topic of the summit was the world-wide fight against AIDS. Aho also had bilateral talks with Prime Minister Balladur.
In a meeting of the North Atlantic Cooperation Committee in Brussels the mutual work programme of NATO and NACC for peace fellowship was passed. The program includes, among others, 18 peacekeeping exercises, and Finland will participate in at least a few of them.
The County Council of the Åland Islands decided that the Islands will join the European Union together with Finland. 26 Council Members were in favour of the decision and four were against.
Prime Minister and Mrs Aho visited Prague. A tax agreement between Finland and the Czech Republic was signed during the visit.
Budapest hosted the third Summit of the CSCE. The Finnish delegation was led by President Ahtisaari and Foreign Minister Haavisto. The heads of states in the Summit passed a five-page political declaration, which was accompanied by 15 more concrete points. The points included CSCE structures and a new model for security; relations between the CSCE and the UN; regional questions; and the so-called human dimension, or human rights questions.
In a Presidential audience for the Government, President Ahtisaari decided to ratify the signed accords on Norway's, Austria 's, Finland's, and Sweden's joining in the EU. The President also ratified the Treaty of Accession passed by the Parliament on 18 November and the bill that puts into effect other agreements that are the basis of the European Union. The President also approved a declaration on the application of the founding agreements of the EU, the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Atomic Energy Community to the Aland Islands. The County Council of the Aland Islands approved, for its part, the Treaty of Accession on 2 December 1994. The Treaty of Accession goes into effect on 1 January on the condition that the Union's present Member States and the countries joining the Union ratify the accords by 31 December 1994.
Finland deposited its Treaty of Accession in the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome.
President Ahtisaari and Prime Minister Aho participated in the 52nd Summit of the EU in Essen, Germany. Foreign Minister Haavisto, Finance Minister Viinanen and top civil servants participated as well. Led by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the meeting discussed the EU membership preparations of Central European countries, the employment situation in Europe, EU policy in the Mediterranean, cooperation in internal matters and issues of justice, current questions in foreign and security affairs, the expansion of the EU to the east, and the situation in Bosnia.
Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization PLO, visited Finland. The purpose of the visit was, among others, to gain political and economic support for the peace process.
Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana visited Helsinki. Minister Solana assured that the dispute between Spain and the EU on fishing rights will not prevent the enlargement of the Union at the turn of the year.
Foreign Minister Haavisto paid official visits to Argentina on 13 and 14 December and to Chile on 15 and 16 December. In both countries, topics of discussion were political and economic relations, as well as developments in integration in Europe and in Latin America, and questions of international security.
Estonian Defence Minister Enn Tupp paid a work visit to Finland.
Minister for Foreign Trade Salolainen participated in a meeting of EFT A ministers held in Geneva. The meeting was the last minister level EFTA meeting in which Finland participated.
Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson visited Finland. Carlsson stated that Finland's and Sweden's choices in foreign policy are so identical that close cooperation is possible.
The Constitutional Law Committee of the Finnish Parliament decided in a memorandum that the government decides who represents Finland in European Union Summits. In most cases the Prime Minister is the representative.
The new Prime Minister of Estonia, Andreas Tarand, visited Finland.
The Finnish Parliament decided that the Government should choose Finland’s representative to European Union Summits.
The Council of the WEU had discussed the position of the new member states of the EU and concluded that they could start as observers in the organization as soon as they become member states.
The last obstacle for Finland's membership in the EU was abolished when the fishing ministers of the EU solved, by vote, the persistent disagreement on Spanish fishing rights.
The Government made a decision of principle according to which Finland will adopt an active role to increase openness in EU administration by influencing norms and ways of procedure in the EU.
By presidential decision, Finland established diplomatic ties with the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Finland recognized the independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina, previously part of Yugoslavia, in April 1992.
In an additional Presidential audience for the Government, President Ahtisaari signed a decree by which Finland's membership in the EU went to force a few hours later, at the beginning of 1995. In the same audience the President enforced several bills and decrees, mainly on agriculture, that are directly connected to Finland's membership in the EU. Thereby, the process which began on 18 March 1992 when Finland submitted its application for membership, ended at 00.01 hours on 1 January 1995.
As he ratified the changes in the parliamentary ordinances and in the Law on the Government, President Ahtisaari had his dissenting opinion on the Constitution recorded into the minutes of the governmental session. President Ahtisaari thinks that the position taken by the Constitution Law Committee of the Finnish Parliament on whether Finland should be represented in the European Council by the Prime Minister or the President, is not applicable to the Council.