Suomen ulkopolitiikan asiakirja-arkisto ja kronologia
Poista kirjanmerkki

Address to the Finnish Parliament by Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio, September 18, 1990

The rapid changes in the international climate have substantially increased the role of Finnish foreign policy.

As foreign policy challenges have increased, the foreign affairs administration has adapted its organization and modes of operation. So far, we have coped with these growing tasks by concentrating on the most important focus areas. They include the EES negotiations, the CSCE process and our membership of the UN Security Council. The foreign affairs administration is now operating at the extreme limits of its resources. It is essential that it continues to be ensured the resources that the task demands.

Iraq's invasion of Kuwait has brought upon it the condemnation of the rest of the world. A broadly united UN Security Council is spearheading international attempts to solve the crisis.

Cooperation between the permanent members of the Security Council has been essential. It has enabled the application in practice of the basic principle of collective security laid down in the UN Charter.

The situation in the Persian Gulf remains critical and highly explosive. The key to its solution is in Iraq's hands. In the Security Council Finland voted in favour of the seven resolutions which provide the only basis for solving the crisis without large-scale use of force. The Security Council has called for unconditional Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait and for the restoration of Kuwait's independence and sovereignty, together with the authority of its legitimate government. The Security Council has backed up its resolutions with sanctions and by authorizing limited action to oversee their observance insofar as sea transports are concerned.

Finnish foreign policy has always based itself on the premise that the principles of the UN Charter must be observed and that the collective effectiveness of the UN in situations threatening international peace and security must be strengthened. It is in the interest of all UN member nations, not least the small ones, that the UN Charter be observed and that there be broad unanimity in the Security Council on the action needed to achieve these goals.

The objectives set up by the Security Council have not yet been reached. Iraq has not withdrawn from Kuwait, nor has it allowed foreigners in the country to leave freely.

The Finnish Government is working to get our own citizens home and for all foreigners to be allowed to leave. Every possible bilateral and multilateral contact with the Iraqi government is being used to this end.

The UN has taken a huge step in the right direction in dealing with Iraqi aggression. The Security Council has now also assumed the responsibility for the implementation of its resolutions.

At the Helsinki summit, the United States and Soviet Union confirmed their support for the solution laid down by the Security Council, thereby increasing the potential for a peaceful solution of the crisis.

In Finland's view, the Gulf crisis can and should be settled by peaceful means.

Our own immediate region - Europe - is going through a process of dramatic change. Many systems basing themselves on ideological and political division are either losing their importance or seeking a new role within a broader and more united Europe.

A new European architecture is currently being created to meet the growing need for cooperation. Diplomacy faces an unprecedented challenge in forging the expectations held of a new Europe into lasting agreements and long-standing structures.

This applies equally to cooperation on security issues and economic and commercial integration, and to cooperation in many other sectors of human life.

The CSCE has a crucial role to play in controlling the political changes now taking place and in setting up a new kind of cooperatively oriented security system. The expectations of it are enormous: suggestions already made include those for regular meetings of heads of state and foreign ministers, the establishment of a permanent secretariat, a crisis control centre and the creation of a parliamentary dimension for the process.

Finland has played an active role in launching and developing the CSCE process. And intends to continue doing so. Hosting the follow-up conference in 1992 will be a major enterprise that we shall undertake to our very best ability.

EFTA continues to be our main reference group in arrangements for European integration. Extensive negotiations are going on between EFTA and the EC with the aim of setting up a European Economic Space (EES). So far, these talks have proceeded as expected, but it is clear that they will not be easy. It is therefore to be hoped that the negotiators will be allowed to go about their business unharassed and that their work will be judged only by its results.

There has been keen debate about the EC in Finland recently, revolving at times around decisions that are extremely far off, possibly not needing to be made until the end of the decade.

I have myself stated that EC membership is not a current issue from the Government's point of view. I have not observed, either, that any responsible quarter considers the EES line now followed by the Government to be the wrong one - or proposes any alternative to it that would be viable at the moment.

To those who might like to see integration come faster, I would like to point out that the work being done towards the EES is a process of practical adjustment to exactly the same kind of rules on economic activity as the EC has. We also know that the EC is busy with its own internal affairs at the moment, and any immediate proposals for new members would not, therefore, come at the right time.

If the EES proves to be a new contractual arrangement that meets our needs, it would also be the least problematic in terms of our policy of neutrality. If it does not, we will find ourselves in a new situation regarding which I do not wish to speculate, for the reasons already mentioned.

The Government has prepared an extensive action programme for Eastern Europe, targeted, depending on the sector concerned, at the parts of the Soviet Union closest to Finland, and at the eastern parts of Central Europe. The aim of the programme is to further environmental protection and to support the economic reform process in these areas.

The 1991 budget proposal includes an appropriation of altogether FIM 176 million for the East European programme, including multilateral and bilateral assistance. It also proposes that up to FIM 300 million be approved for 1991 in interest subsidy loans. FIM 110 million of this sum is marked out for environmental cooperation, and FIM 19 million for training, the exchange of trainees and experts, and the work of civic organizations. FIM 47 million is allocated for other activities.

Earlier commitments, including assistance to Eastern Europe, will increase to FIM 565 million within the next five years. Of this sum, multilateral assistance accounts for FIM 303 million and bilateral aid for FIM 261 million. The multilateral programmes include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the environmental finance company of the Nordic Investment Bank, the Yugoslavia-EFTA fund, European training programmes and a regional environment centre for Central and Eastern Europe. It is possible that these figures will have to be upped considerably.

I shall be explaining the East European programme in more detail to the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament in the near future.

All in all, the Government's budget bill includes a substantial initial contribution to strengthening international environmental cooperation. This is a matter of crucial concern to us and we need clear objectives. I have proposed 0.3% of GNP as a sum to be aimed at. The budget bill takes the first step in this direction.

An international control mechanism is also needed to oversee environmental standards. On the human rights side, the CSCE countries have the right to intervene in the policies pursued by other CSCE countries. A similar mechanism is needed to ensure the observation of environmental standards. This would, for instance, help prevent the use of environmental pollution as a means of economic and commercial competition.

Development cooperation at the practical level means hard day-to-day work in difficult conditions. It is work where nobody believes in miracles. The target countries are sovereign states and are responsible for their own development. Our development cooperation work is helping them achieve their own goals.

Recently, the problem has been how to respond to the chaotic economies, internal unrest and infringements of human rights in target countries. As providers of development aid we carry some responsibility for the kind of development we are supporting. We are also responsible for ensuring that the Finnish funds allocated to development cooperation produce results.

The Government is reducing Finland's development cooperation programmes with certain countries whose internal situation and conditions have become so difficult that, as things look at present, there are no prerequisites for effective development cooperation. The cuts are being made gradually and without any sudden changes, to ensure that results already achieved are not placed at risk.

Democracy has enormous capacity for change. Combined with respect for human rights, it furthers sustainable development. In many developing nations, especially in Africa, there is now franker debate about democracy and the concomitant necessity for political pluralism, freedom of expression and free elections. The steps being taken towards democracy by developing nations should be encouraged both politically and economically. We shall utilize every opportunity offered within our development cooperation programmes for open dialogue about democracy, respect for human rights and citizens' involvement in decision-making concerning their own affairs.

Just how Finnish development programmes can in practice encourage the budding growth of democracy in countries with which we cooperate is a challenging question. Here, too, our principle is to support efforts already being made by the countries and peoples themselves.

However, a clear line must be drawn on these issues. We must not interfere in the internal affairs of developing nations. Public protests are not a Finnish way of handling relations. Using a ban on development cooperation as a sanction is alien to the whole concept.

The development cooperation ministers of the Nordic countries approved an important statement on democracy and development cooperation last week in Norway, and this will also be influential at the practical level.

Development cooperation is of significance not only to the target countries but also to us ourselves. When it succeeds, development cooperation is an effective instrument in creating contacts with nations and cultures outside Europe. At the moment, there are 27 State bodies involved in actual development cooperation, 11 of them being institutes of education. Over 70 companies and their employees are helping put our programmes into effect. There are currently nearly 400 Finns working in development cooperation jobs in various parts of the world. A further 60 or so volunteers from the Finnish Volunteer Service are working in developing countries. Some 800 citizens from developing countries are taking part this year in courses and seminars arranged by Finland and about forty are studying in Finland on scholarships. Two hundred and fifty civic and missionary organizations have projects in developing countries.

The Government holds to the objective laid down in its programme, of allocating an annual 0.7% of GNP to development cooperation. This 0.7% is to be achieved in payments, as the international target requires. Funds have been allocated in the budget for this purpose.

It is in the nature of development cooperation that funds are carried over from one year into the next. Hence a sum of FIM 512.8 million was carried over from 1989 to 1990. Of this, development cooperation proper accounts for FIM 333.3 million and industrial development cooperation (Finnfund and the Commission for Scientific and Technical Cooperation between Finland and the USSR) for FIM 179.5 million.

When the budget for 1991 was drawn up, note was also taken of the 1990 funds which are expected to be carried over unused and which will therefore be available next year. If there is a need for further funds, in addition to what is already proposed, to allow us to reach the 0.7% target next year, they will be put forward in a supplementary budget.

Poista kirjanmerkki