In his comments concerning foreign policy during his New Year's speech Prime Minister Esko Aho expressed his hope for consensus during the early EC membership negotiations. According to Aho the power and the responsibility for the decision belongs to each Finnish citizen through the referendum. The Prime Minister stated that the Government is aiming for a solution by which the whole of Finland will prosper, and which the vast majority of the Finns can accept. Aho also stated that the pace of the dissolution of the division in Europe was painfully slow, and that a new border threatened arise in the place of the former Iron Curtain: a gap in living standard which follows Finland's eastern border. Aho advised the Western countries to support the reconstruction of Eastern Europe. Aho also reminded the audience that Finland no longer has the same role as bridge builder. Now Finland must relieve the in Europe.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Paavo Väyrynen attended a foreign ministers' meeting in Kirkenes, Norway, which dealt with the development of cooperation in the Barents Sea area .The meeting was also attended by ministers from other Nordic Countries, Russia, the European Community, and the United States as an observer. The Euroarctic area of The Barents Sea was established which is led by the Barentsian council. At Finland's request Karelia was granted observer-status on the Council.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, paid an official visit to Finland. The main topics of discussion were border checkpoints, cross-border co-operation and the Baltic situation, among other things. Minister Kozyrev stressed the importance of cross-border co-operation to Russia.
The Coalition Party was accepted as a permanent observer in the European People's Party, the EPP, which represents the Christian Democrats and moderate centre-rightist parties.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Väyrynen signed a convention on behalf of Finland in Paris on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, and their destruction. The convention will most likely enter into force in early 1995.
At the opening of the National Defence College in Santahamina, Helsinki, Prime Minister Esko Aho dealt with the new obligations the use of military force in crisis management may bring to Finland through the UN and the CSCE. According to Aho, Finland could contribute to crisis management by specialising in education and different supportive activities. The Prime Minister considered it very important for the domestic rules to be clear, and for a clear line to be drawn between traditional peacekeeping and military action.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Väyrynen met the Foreign Minister of Italy, Emilio Colombo, in Rome, while he was attending the meeting of Liberal International. The key topics of discussion were Finland's intention to join the EC and the situation in the former state of Yugoslavia.
Prime Minister Aho paid an official visit to Greece, where he met the President of Greece, Konstantin Karamanlis, and Prime Minister Konstantin Mitsoakis. The main topics of discussion were the relationship between Greece and Finland, Finland's negotiations for EC membership and the situation in the Balkans.
Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana demanded that Finland and five other EFTA countries find some way to pay off the deficit Switzerland left in the cohesion fund. Spain is willing to prevent the diplomatic assembly of the 18 countries discussing the EES Treaty if a satisfactory solution concerning the fund cannot be reached.
The government presented a bill to Parliament regarding the sending of Finnish peacekeepers tothe CSCE's operations. The UN Charter sanctions the peacekeeping operations ofregional organisations and the subsequent arrangements. At the Helsinki Summitin June 1992, the CSCE declared itself to be a regional arrangement according to the UN Charter.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paavo Väyrynen, and Pertti Salolainen, the Minister of Foreign Trade, were nominated chairmen of the Finnish delegation in charge of EC negotiations. In this organisation, negotiation instructions are handled by the EC ministerial group, which is chaired by Prime Minister Aho; Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen was elected Vice-Chairman.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Väyrynen spoke at the Danish Foreign Policy Society in Copenhagen. In his lecture he stated that Finland is not excluding the possibility of participating in a possible common defence arrangement in the future within the framework of the Western European Union (WEU), nor is it discounting becoming a member of the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Väyrynen also gave assurances that as a member of the EC Finland would not try to prevent the development of the EC's defence dimension, but instead would be willing to contribute to it.
The Foreign Ministers of the Nordic Countries met in Stockholm. During the negotiations, Niels Helveg Petersen, the Foreign Minister of Denmark, the current EC president, promised Sweden and Finland help in the ensuing negotiations for EC membership.
The Minister of Development Co-operation, Toimi Kankaanniemi, visited Namibia, the United States, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. In Washington, Kankaanniemi attended a prayer breakfast, which U.S. President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore also attended with their wives.
The Commander of the Armed Forces, Admiral Klenberg, said in his speech at the Northern Finland Teachers' Meeting in Oulu that if the political leaders of Finland so desire, the Defence Forces are ready to participate in peace enforcement within the framework of the UN or the CSCE, for example. However, Klenberg's attitude towards peace enforcement was qualified.
Finland, Sweden, and Austria began negotiations in Brussels with 12 member states of the European Community regarding membership of the EC, later to be called the European Union. In the negotiations the Finnish delegation was headed by Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen and Minister of Foreign Affairs Väyrynen. During the opening session, Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen addressed the meeting and in his speech said that Finland's first priority was to secure the future of its agriculture and sparsely populated areas, while at the same time preparing some conditions for membership of the European Economic and Monetary Union. In their speeches, EC representatives stated that the expansion of the EC will be preceded by the final ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. The EC countries also stressed that increasing the number of members should not erode the EC or weaken its efficiency.
As a part of the public administration's Europe-information a unit was set up within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to distribute information concerning European integration. The unit works as a channel through which people can ask for the information they need
The Eurobarometer survey, conducted by Finland's Gallup as part of a semi-annual Eurobarometer survey in the EC countries, indicated that opposition to the EC had increased in Finland during the past six months. At the same time, the number of undecided voters had grown. Slightly less than half of those asked, 47 per cent, were strongly or somewhat in favour of integration into Europe, while almost as many were against it - namely 41 per cent. More than one in four considered Finland's EC membership a good idea and 23 per cent considered it a bad idea.
At the request of some of the EC countries, the EC Commission announced to officials of the EFTA countries that Finland and five other EFTA countries should contribute more towards cohesion funds, in other words to compensate for Switzerland, which had withdrawn, and open their markets to new agricultural products in order to bring the EES contract into force. The opening of the agricultural clauses was justified by a number of facts, primarily that Switzerland would have been the main purchaser of agricultural products. EFTA rejected the claims categorically and unanimously.
The press released a report that the Ministry of the Interior and passport control turned back or deported a total of 2852 foreigners from Finland in 1992. 2545 were turned back at the border - 1627 of whom were carrying a passport from the former Soviet Union. 185 of those deported appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court.
At an event arranged by the National Defence Association of North Karelia in Joensuu, the Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jaakko Blomberg, stated that Finland, which is now applying for membership of the EC, will forgo any military alliances for the time being, because the country wants to support the peaceful and democratic reform of Russia. Blomberg admitted that the mindset of Finland's security system - to remain unallied for the time being but to agree to the Maastricht Treaty's objective of a common defence - may be difficult to understand. "Remaining unallied”, he explained, "is bound to the moment and prevailing conditions. The conditions may change, and we don't exclude the idea of joining the common defence in the future.”
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs contributed FIM 7.5 million to international financial institutions, to be used in the planning and preparation of development projects planned for regions near Finland. The target areas were central and eastern European countries, the Baltic countries and Russia.
Parliament re-elected its representatives to the European Council. Finland's delegation to the European Council is still headed by Mr. Olli Rehn, while Ms. Tarja Halonen is Vice-Chairman. Speaker of the Parliament Ilkka Suominen will continue as the head of Finland's delegation to the Nordic Council; the Vice-Chairman of the delegation is Erkki Tuomioja.
The Speaker of the Russian Parliament, Ruslan Hasbulatov, visited Finland with a delegation. The topics discussed during the visit were the situation in Russia, trade between Finland and Russia, the strengthening of interparliamentary co-operation between the countries, and the question of Finnish minorities.
EFTA partly yielded to the EC's demands for compensation over Switzerland's unpaid portion of the fund for poorer EC countries; Switzerland had earlier withdrawn from the EES. Under the terms of the agreement, Finland's annual share rose by FIM 20-30 million to approximately FIM 150 million.
The Parliament Defence Committee visited the military posts in the Leningrad military district for the first time to find out whether the build-up of Russian troops along Finland's eastern border will be permanent. According to an official announcement, 42,000 men are under arms in zones near the border, but in reality the number of the troops is over 350,000. Despite its request, the Defence Committee was not allowed to visit the helicopter regiment at Kosimov.
The Nordic Council held its 41st meeting in Oslo. The Council made changes to the Helsinki Treaty, which means that in future the Council is also free to speak out on foreign affairs.
According to media reports, over 900 foreigners received Finnish citizenship in 1992 - the new Finns represent 62 different nationalities. Over 2700 persons renounced their Finnish citizenship in the same year.
President Koivisto and his wife paid a state visit to Russia, where he met President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Viktor Tshernomyrdin and Speaker of the Parliament, Ruslan Hasbulatov. The main topics of discussion were Western aid to Russia, near-zone co-operation and Finland's desire to contribute to plans that will utilise the oil and gas deposits of the Barents Sea. During the visit, President Koivisto expressed his support for President Yeltsin's reform policy and showed an understanding of Russia's efforts to act as a guarantor of peace in the area of the former Soviet Union.
At an EC meeting for Foreign Ministers in Brussels, the government of Spain announced that it may delay the final ratification of the treaty concerning the EES until the EC's own treaty of alliance has been ratified by all 12 EC countries. Even so, the Foreign Minister of Denmark, the president country of the EC, gave his assurances that the EC countries, including Spain, will ratify the FF5 by the beginning of July.
The commander of the Russian Armed Forces, Colonel General M.P. Kolesnikov, visited Finland, where he was given an introduction to the Finnish Defence Forces, as well as their defence policy and history. In Helsinki, Colonel General Kolesnikov met leaders of the defence forces, President Koivisto and the Minister of Defence, Elisabeth Rehn. Kolesnikov expressed his regret that the visit of the Parliament Defence Committee the previous week had not gone as expected.
During the Parliament's EC discussion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paavo Väyrynen, said that in the now-changed Europe, Finland has returned to the neutrality policy it established before the Second World War. According to Väyrynen, the Finnish neutrality policy is older than the Cold War - as soon as it became independent Finland chose neutrality. During the Cold War, Finnish Foreign Policy evolved a broad-based concept of neutrality, based on the division of Europe and the polarisation of the superpowers. He concluded that with this division gone, Finland can no longer adhere to this neutrality, but instead has been compelled to redefine it.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paavo Väyrynen, visited Denmark, where he met Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen. At the meeting, Väyrynen expressed Finland's view that the Maastricht Treaty poses no problems to the membership negotiations. Furthermore, Väyrynen considered agricultural and regional policy to be Finland's key questions in the negotiations.
On his visit to Finland, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel met President Koivisto, Minister of Foreign Affairs Väyrynen, Prime Minister Aho and Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen. The main topics of discussion were Finland's application for membership of the European Community, Europe's security policy and the situation in Russia and the former state of Yugoslavia. Minister Kinkel expressed his hope that Finland would draw closer to NATO and the WEU during Europe's future security solutions.
The Parliamentary Defence Committee recommended that a parliamentary consulting committee should be appointed immediately to evaluate how the changes in security and defence policy will affect Finland's position. Among other things, the report should both evaluate whether the focus of Finland's defence meets present and future needs and estimate Finland's preparedness to participate in other than traditional peacekeeping operations.
Minister of Defence Rehn paid a working visit to Russia. In Moscow Minister Rehn met the Russian Minister of Defence, Pavel Gratshov, and gave a talk to the General Staff Academy of the Russian Armed Forces. During the visit it was announced that Russia will send officers to Niinisalo to be trained for UN peacekeeping duties. The main topics of the visit were the environmental risk posed by Ukraine's nuclear weapons and the troops based in the Leningrad military district.
At a meeting with the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, the President expressed his hopes for a common strategy in the West in order to support Russia economically. In his view, the other CIS nations should also be taken into account in this programme. According to the President, there is no fear of Russia returning to its old system, since the opponents of the reform policy are conservatives who pursue slower reforms.
An agreement signed in Helsinki between the Nordic Countries changed the treaty of co-operation which had been in force between the countries since 1962 - i.e. the Helsinki Treaty. According to the agreement, the main responsibility for co-operation will be transferred from members of parliament to prime ministers. Furthermore, foreign policy will become an official part of Nordic co-operation, and the governments will monitor Nordic interests in Europe.
The Finnish Defence Forces decided to continue the training of Estonian military personnel. The number of the new trainees agreed upon was 30.
The government of Finland released a short statement, in which it expressed its support for President Boris Yeltsin regarding Russia's reform policy after he had announced temporary presidential rule on 20 March. The Parliamentary Congress had earlier that week prevented Yeltsin's efforts to reach a power sharing compromise between the Parliament and the President.
During a discussion regarding the UN's environmental and development conference in Helsinki, Minister of Foreign Affairs Väyrynen suggested a total reform of the UN organisation. According to the Minister, reform should begin on the organisation's 50th anniversary two years hence. In particular, the charter concerning international co-operation should be revised.
After visiting Sweden, the Minister of Defence, Elisabeth Rehn, demanded that Finns living in Sweden be granted official recognition as an ethnic minority by the government of Sweden. She considered it wrong to treat them as immigrants.
The first conference of the intergovernmental Finnish-Russian Cooperation Commission was held in Moscow. The conference dealt with financial issues between the nations, including Finland's claims, near-zone co-operation, transport co-operation and the model for cross-border trade.
The President of the Republic decided to suspend visa-free travel between Finland and Gambia on 10 April. The decision was based on the involvement of some Gambian citizens in drug dealing in Finland.
When Norway was welcomed into EC membership negotiations, the Foreign Minister of Denmark, Niels Helveg Petersen, demanded an end to Finland and Sweden's Baltic free trade. The EC lacks a free trade agreement with the Baltic States, and fears that Baltic products will slip into the EC market through the Nordic countries, he argued. Finland, on the other hand, hopes to preserve existing arrangements.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Väyrynen attended a working dinner at the EC Conference of Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, along with the Foreign Ministers of Sweden, Norway and Austria. Niels Helveg Petersen, Denmark's Foreign Minister, described the session as the first foreign policy consultation between the nations negotiating membership of the EC. The topics of the consultation were Russia, the Middle East peace negotiations and the situation in the former state of Yugoslavia.
Bank Manager Kalevi Sorsa, who is seeking the Social Democratic Party's presidential nomination, brought up the idea of Finland reclaiming the islands in the Gulf of Finland. Russia's Ambassador in Helsinki, Yuri Deryabin, rejected the suggestion and regarded the issue as a question of principle.
The Finnish Centre Party elected the President of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers, Heikki Haavisto, to be the new Minister of Foreign Affairs after Paavo Väyrynen announced his resignation from the cabinet in order to campaign for the presidential candidacy. Väyrynen's justifications for his resignation were the delay in the EC process and the decline in the government's ability to function.
The Prime Minister of Belgium and future president of the EC, Jean-Luc Dehaene, and his wife visited Finland. Dehaene stated that Finland cannot remain neutral, either politically or defensively, as the EC progresses towards the objectives it agreed upon in Maastricht. Finland must be prepared to agree on and even participate in the military operations of the EC. According to Dehaene, Finland, like all other applicants, must realise that membership is first of all a political decision. He suggested that Finland should restrict itself to the EES if it is not ready to make a political commitment. He characterised the Western European Union (WEU) as NATO's European pillar; membership in the WEU is also a prerequisite for taking part in the EU's common defence.
Minister of Defence Rehn visited Germany where she met the German Minister of Defence, Volker Ruhe. Ruhe suggested that Finland might assist in the training of German soldiers for UN peacekeeping operations.
The Parliament approved the lifting of economic sanctions against South Africa by 108 votes to 26, although many MP's considered the timing to be totally inappropriate.
The Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee decided that Finnish vessels will participate, for the first time, in the open part of the Baltic Operations '93 naval manoeuvres, to be held in the Baltic from 8-11 June. The manoeuvres are being held on the initiative of the United States. Finland has not been invited to join the second stage of the manoeuvres.
Speaking at the Finnish-Estonian environment event in Helsinki, the chancellor of Estonia's Ministry of the Environment, Rein Ratas, confirmed, as Estonia's representative, the report that two vessels with nuclear reactors had been sunk in the Baltic Sea. He then went on to say that other nuclear waste had also been sunk in the Baltic Sea.
Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen participated in the second annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London. Salolainen also met the British Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Heseltine, and Tristan Garel-Jones, the Europe Minister who threatened to delay the creation of the EU unless the EFTA countries who are seeking EC membership became members before 1994; at this point the EC nations will start negotiations between governments to implement both political union and the economic and monetary union.
A joint committee of the Finnish Parliament and the EC Parliament gathered in Helsinki. The committee expressed its hope that the EC membership negotiations would proceed rapidly, acknowledged the difficulties caused by the geographical location and the climate of Finland, and regarded the implementation of the EES agreement without delay as important to Finland's adaptation before joining the European Union.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs announced that Finland had received a request the previous week from the UN to send a quartermaster battalion to Belgrade to replace the French unit that was withdrawing. The Cabinet Foreign Affairs Committee decided that Finland lacked sufficient funds to send replacement troops.
According to a report in Helsingin Sanomat and other newspapers, a new and detailed Russian environmental report sent to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs this week claims that no nuclear submarines, nor any other solid nuclear waste, have been sunk in the Baltic Sea.
Speaker of the Parliament Ilkka Suominen, who gave a speech at the meeting of the Civil Defence Courses Association, took a moderately positive stand on the fortification of the Åland Islands. According to Suominen, the shift in emphasis of military policy in the Baltic Sea and the commitment of Finland to the defence of the EC, following Finland's possible EC membership, will also raise the issue of the demilitarised status of the Åland Islands.
The Ministers of Defence of the Nordic Countries gathered in Karlskrona, Sweden. At the meeting the Nordic Countries, excluding Iceland, decided to increase their co-operation in the development and manufacture of weapons, and in the purchase of defence material.
The Foreign Ministers of the Nordic Countries held a two-day meeting in Mariefred, Sweden. At the meeting the Foreign Ministers announced that they were waiting for the UN Security Council's decision on the nature of the special troops who will be sent tofor Bosnia. According to Minister of Foreign Affairs Väyrynen, Finland may be left with the task of moving the construction battalion from Croatia to Bosnia.
Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jaakko Blomberg, expressed his view that Finland is ready to participate in the peace operation in Bosnia planned by the UN, as long as it is sanctioned by all the warring parties. If the situation leads to peace enforcement, i.e. if military action is taken to ensure peace by force, Finland's prompt involvement is highly unlikely.
The Åland Islands condemned the statement by the Speaker of the Parliament, Ilkka Suominen, on the fortification of the Åland Islands. The Chairman of the County Council, Ragnar Erlandsson, said that the Speaker's interference in the demilitarised status of the Åland Islands was more serious than a similar statement by professional soldiers, for example.
The President of the Republic appointed the Chairman of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers, Heikki Haavisto, as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland. At a press conference, Haavisto stated that Finland's foreign policy would not change. He also said that he would make a serious effort in the country's negotiations for EC membership, so that Finland's conditions can be realised and that it would join the EC.
The President of the Republic decided that Finland will lift the remaining economic sanctions against South Africa on 15 May. Legislation revoking the investment ban will come into force at this time.
The Finnish delegation to the General Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg was headed by MP Olli Rehn. At the assembly, Russia tried to press the Council and its members not to admit Estonia as the 29th member nation of the Council. The Finnish delegates and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs received documents on the subject from Russia's Ambassador to Finland, Yuri Deryabin.
The delegation of the Friendship Association of Finland and Russia proposed that Russian should be acknowledged as a minority language along with Romany and Lapp. Approximately 20,000 people in Finland speak Russian at home as their first or second language.
The results of the latest Eurobarometer survey in Finland showed that support for EC membership has stabilised at the same level as last November: in April 43 per cent of Finns thought that Finland should join the EC, while 40 per cent were against membership.
The second largest minority in Finland, the Russians, proposed that their position should be officially recognised. According to the working group which looked into the issue, the Russian minority should be guaranteed, at the very least, the restricted possibility to use their mother tongue in state, municipal, and church offices by law.
Finland recognised Eritrea and will establish diplomatic relations with the country. The move was confirmed by the President of the Republic. Finland has previously given humanitarian aid to Eritrea.
The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Jean, and his wife paid a state visit to Finland. Jacques F. Poos, the Foreign Minister, accompanied them. According to Poos, security policy will not cause problems because Finland doesn't regard neutrality as an ideological obstacle to joining the community.
Finland participated as an observer in the NACC conference held in Kirkenes, Norway, where NATO and countries from the former Eastern Bloc discussed the environmental problems caused by military activities.
The Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jaakko Blomberg, took part in negotiations with the Secretary General of the WEU, Willem van Eekelen. Blomberg announced that Finland was ready to intensify the unofficial contacts that have already been established with the WEU. Several weeks ago, the Foreign Ministers of the WEU had presented a proposal in Rome regarding closer links with Finland, Sweden and Austria during their EC membership negotiations.
The Council of Europe held a conference in Helsinki, where the theme was economic reform in the former socialist nations of central and eastern Europe. Parliamentarians and specialists from 40 different countries attended the conference. Prime Minister Esko Aho gave a speech at the opening session and stressed that the Finnish government regarded the support given to the CIS and central and eastern Europe as important. Finland's long border with Russia represents the greatest disparity in living standards in the whole world, and, according to Aho, the unfavourable development in Russia will have a negative effect on Finland. Aho proposed free trade as a solution.
During his speech at the 75th anniversary parade of the Defence Forces in Hämeenlinna, President Koivisto stated that with the alleviation of the juxtapositions of the UN's working possibilities, we "must live up to our words and prepare to take part in the fulfilment of the UN's decisions, even if in the course of the development of the peacekeeping operations we might have to use more force than before.”
Parliament passed a bill which broadens the law on Finland's participation in UN peacekeeping operations, so that the Finns may also contribute to CSCE peacekeeping forces if necessary. In a report regarding the law, the Foreign Affairs Committee emphasised that if Finland wants to take part in peace enforcement, a new law - or a change in law - must be implemented.
The EC Foreign Ministers and the Finnish government concluded the first agreements regarding Finland's EC membership in Luxembourg. Approximately a quarter of the negotiation list's 29 main points were completed. At the conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto expressed Finland's concern about rumours that the EC would consider changes in the community's institutions, i.e. in reforming the voting balance of the member nations, before admitting new members.
Finland presented its negotiation objectives on environmental issues to the EC Commission. A key point was that the question of nuclear waste should be confirmed once more during the course of the negotiations; i.e. that the decision on receiving foreign nuclear waste should be in the hands of the Finnish authorities.
Finland participated in a NACC conference in Athens as an observer.
The Parliament approved the changes, characterised as technical, to the agreement regarding the EES. The changes were made because Switzerland rejected the EES.
Minister of Defence Elisabeth Rehn travelled to Holland and France for a working visit. In Paris, Minister Rehn attended the parliamentary general session of the WEU. During her speech she stated that Finland agreed with the objectives of the EC's foreign and security policy.
The European Federation of Green Parties was founded on June 19 in Kirkkonummi. Representatives from 23 Green Parties were present.
Speaking in an interview published by Helsingin Sanomat, Rene Steichen, the member of the EC Commission responsible for agriculture, denied the possibility that the EC would change its agricultural system for Finland or other applicant countries. He said that there was no room in the EC for new mechanisms by which the agriculture or rural areas of the member states would be supported. Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto stated that if Steichen really meant what he said, the negotiations would be extremely difficult.
Finland decided to cut its support to the World Bank by half. The decision was based on the fact that Parliament was expected to cut funding to the World Bank and other UN organisations by the same amount.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heikki Haavisto, paid a working visit to Tallinn at the invitation of Foreign Minister Trivimi Velliste. In connection with the visit, Minister Haavisto accepted the building of the former Finnish Embassy on behalf of Finland. Haavisto also signed a contract regarding economic co-operation and support between Finland and Estonia.
In an interview he gave in Kultaranta, Naantali, President Koivisto severely criticised the UN's actions in Bosnia. In Koivisto's view, the international organisation was eager to intervene in the crisis but without the needed resources. In particular, he criticised the proposal made in May by five member states of the UN Security Council, which he feared would lead to the division of the country and repudiation of the principle that there is no benefit to military conquest. The UN can't start dividing its member states, he said. When it comes to the UN's peace enforcement operations, Koivisto wanted to at least exclude the possibility of Finland sending troops whose "task is killing people”.
UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali sent an official request to Finland for the Secretary of State of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Martti Ahtisaari to attend the Bosnian Peace Conference again. The reply was positive.
The United States attacked Baghdad with 23 cruise missiles and destroyed most of the headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence service. The attack was in revenge for Iraq's plan to assassinate President George Bush on his visit to Kuwait last April. According to the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heikki Haavisto, the attack was justified.
The President of the Republic decided that Finland will withdraw from the UN peacekeeping operations in the former state of Yugoslavia by 29 July. According to the government's assessment, it is not possible for Finland to assign troops to new operations in Bosnia for the time being. Finland is still prepared to consider material aid, however.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heikki Haavisto, met Niels Helveg, Denmark's Foreign Minister Petersen, in Copenhagen. Petersen expressed his support for Finland's line in the EU membership negotiations. He said that Finland, Sweden and Norway would probably become members at the beginning of 1995.
The Prime Ministers of the Nordic Countries met on the Lofoten Islands to consider the special issues of the Nordic Countries in the EU membership negotiations, as well as the future of Nordic co-operation.
Commission Department Head Francisco Granell, who is in charge of the membership negotiations between the EC and Finland, paid a visit to Finland. In Finland he met representatives of interest groups and officials in charge of the membership negotiations; he also visited North Karelia to survey the conditions in the region.
The Members of Parliament from 52 countries and observers from the Council of Europe, the WEU, the NACC and the IPU met at the Parliament House in Helsinki for the second session of the CSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The Chairman of the Assembly was Speaker Ilkka Suominen, who was also elected chairman for the following year. The main topics of discussion were national minorities, peacekeeping, the security of civilians in conflict, the supervision of elections and the development of dialogue between governments and parliaments.
In an interview for the newspaper Keskisuomalainen, which is published in Jyväskylä, President Koivisto expressed his dissatisfaction with the content of the discussion concerning the Åland Islands. According to the President, the question has to be seen from the standpoint of the changing security situation in Europe and European integration, and in this context the demilitarisation of the islands may be harder to accept. Koivisto went on to say it is clear that development in Europe will also be reflected in the status of the Åland Islands.
The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Richard von Weizsecker, paid a working visit to Finland, where he met President Koivisto and Prime Minister Aho. The main topics of discussion were European integration and economic problems, negotiations regarding Finnish membership of the EC, the exacerbated relations between Estonia and Russia, and the development of Eastern Europe.
In Strasbourg, the EC Parliament discussed the expansion of the community, and demanded the community's institutions reform before the admission of new members. The Parliament's view differed from the decision of the Copenhagen Summit, according to which new members will be admitted within the framework of the present institutions.
The Vice-Chairman of the EC Commission, Henning Christophersen, began his three-day visit to Finland. During the discussions, Christophersen brought up the accusations France had made against Finnish paper exporters and expressed his wish for further information on the subject. According to Christophersen, the floating of the Mark is also possible if Finland becomes a member of the EC, but the situation may not be used aggressively against other member states. He saw the paper conflict between France and Finland as a good example of such a situation.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto paid a one-day visit to Paris, where he met the Foreign Minister of France, Alain Jupp. At the meeting, Jupp raised France's demand that the EC impose penalty duties on Finnish and Swedish paper producers as his key issue. During the course of the visit it also appeared that France didn't foresee any problems with the Finnish foreign and security policy upon Finland joining the EC. Agriculture, on the other hand, may prove problematic, Haavisto said.
According to the economic and operational plan of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland's funds for development co-operation will be reduced next year, so that just slightly more than FIM 1 billion will be allocated for actual development co-operation. In peak years, development aid exceeded FIM 4 billion. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs would prefer to have development aid account for a minimum of 0.4 per cent of gross national product, but, according to this plan, the percentage will be considerably lower.
The EU Commission had a preliminary discussion regarding the issues of agricultural and regional policy with regards to new members. The report drawn up by the member in charge of the Commission's external relations, which was the basis of the discussion, predicts that it will be far more difficult for Finland and Norway to adapt their agricultural policy to the EC agricultural system than it will be for Sweden and Austria. The report also states that the member candidates have over-optimistic hopes when it comes to receiving agricultural aid. Poor regions in the EFTA countries would not receive class-one aid.
The government set an objective for its negotiations for EC membership, according to which half of Finland should be brought within the scope of the EU's principal aid, known as class-one aid. The objective is justified by weak economic and employment development. The provinces in question are Lapland, northern Karelia, southern Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and southern Savo.
During Finland's negotiations for membership, the EC confirmed that as a member of the EC Finland would have the authority to decide on the import of nuclear waste, on the condition that the import ban would not be discriminatory. The government of Finland announced simultaneously that it was not going to allow the import of nuclear waste. At the same time, during Sweden's negotiations for membership, it appeared that the EC approved the continuation of free trade between the Nordic and the Baltic Countries.
President Koivisto commented on the increasingly strained situation in the Middle East. According to the president, the peace process in the Middle East must be set in motion quickly - in his view there are positive signs in the situation and the preconditions for peace to exist.
Minister of Defence Rehn, who had recently visited Croatia and Macedonia, stated that Finland could participate in peace enforcement in the former state of Yugoslavia, but only by providing equipment. She retained her cautious attitude towards the idea of Finnish troops participating in the monitoring of the ceasefire in Bosnia.
According to the Prime Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt, the status of the Åland Islands as a demilitarised zone will remain unchanged as European integration proceeds. Bildt stated that the fears voiced concerning the possible dissolution of demilitarisation had been unfounded.
John Kelly, the U.S. Ambassador to Finland, announced that he didn't believe that Finland could become a member of NATO in the near future. According to Kelly, the defence organisation will not take new members for several years. Kelly thinks that Finland's membership of NATO will only become an issue in the 2lst century if Finland becomes a member of the EC and the WEU.
The Ministers of Defence of the Nordic Countries, who met at Rosersberg Castle near Stockholm in Sweden, agreed on the composition of the UN troops to be sent to Bosnia. The Assembly agreed to send a total of 1200-1300 Nordic (Swedish, Norwegian and Danish) peacekeepers to Bosnia, while Finland agreed to provide the Nordic peacekeepers with armoured troop carriers and other equipment.
President and Mrs Koivisto travelled to Belgium. In Brussels they attended the funeral of King Baudouini, who had died on 31 July.
During his traditional summer visit to the Åland Islands, President Koivisto said that the Åland Islands could stay out of the EC even if Finland became a member.
The Foreign Minister of Germany, Klaus Kinkel, who was on holiday in Finland, met Prime Minister Aho, Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto and Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen in Helsinki. The discussions covered EC membership negotiations, and Finland placed special emphasis on objectives concerning regional and agricultural policy. Kinkel hoped that Finland would draw closer to NATO and the Western European Union.
The King of Sweden, Carl Gustav XVI, and Queen Silvia paid a private visit to Naantali where they met President Koivisto and his wife. The reason for the visit was the 550th anniversary of the City of Naantali.
The Cabinet Foreign Affairs Committee decided to send 13 armoured Pasi vehicles to Bosnia, 11 of which will be equipped as ambulances. The crew will be trained by Finns.
The Prime Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt, and Ulf Dinkelspiel, the minister responsible for Sweden's EC membership negotiations, visited Finland. Prime Minister Bildt met President Koivisto, Prime Minister Aho and Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto. The main topics of discussion were the situation in the former state of Yugoslavia, the Nordic troops to be sent to Bosnia, the Baltic situation, and economic development in Finland and Sweden.
Israel's Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, visited Finland. During the discussions Peres assured those he met that peace in Middle East was at hand, which also meant that Israel would give up the occupied area of Gaza.
Speaking at the opening of the one-week annual summer assembly of Ambassadors in Helsinki, Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto said that Finland wouldn't negotiate the international status of the Åland Islands with the EC. Haavisto wanted to keep the negotiations for accession to the EC separate from the foreign policy discussion concerning the Åland Islands.
A book by former Soviet Union diplomat Viktor Vladimirov was published. In the book, Vladimirov admits that the Soviet Union did interfere in Finland's internal affairs. As an example, he mentions the note Finland received in 1961, which was meant to subvert the Honka alliance and assist President Kekkonen. Kekkonen had an inkling that the note was coming but didn't know of its contents. In Vladimirov's opinion, the interference was necessary and relations remained good because conflict was prevented in time.
The Prime Ministers of the Nordic Countries met in Visby under Swedish chairmanship. The topics discussed included the situation in the former state of Yugoslavia and the planned Nordic UN operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It appeared that the Nordic Countries are dissatisfied with the organisation of the UN peacekeeping operations and want more officers for the troops.
The government and the Åland Islands reached an agreement on the policy to be followed during the negotiations for EC membership. The Åland Islands had to give up the demand of the acknowledgment of the demilitarisation of the Åland Islands in the membership protocol. During the membership negotiations, Finland will presumably make a declaration that will form the basis of the negotiations and emphasise the specific status of the Åland Islands based on the decision by the League of Nations in 1921. The Åland Islands will not seek a separate treaty with the EC but instead will want access to membership through Finland's possible membership.
According to the information published in Helsingin Sanomat and other sources, South Africa has partially lifted the visa requirement for Finland and several other nations in Western Europe. The decision was unilateral, although South Africans coming to Finland will still need a visa.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto visited Lisbon where he met his Portuguese counterpart, Foreign Minister Jos Manuel Durao Barroso. The main topics of discussion were the membership negotiations between the EC and Finland, and the related regional and agricultural issues.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto paid an official visit to Greece at the invitation of Foreign Minister Michalis Papaconstantinou. Questions regarding Finland's EC membership negotiations dominated the discussions.
Finland commented on the agreement, signed in principle by Israel and the PLO in Washington, which strives for self-government and the mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO. The government considered these developments a historical change in the long-term conflict in the Middle East and also believed the international support of the efforts to be of extreme importance. Finland will participate in this work alongside the other Nordic Countries.
The co-operation organ of the parliamentarians of the NATO countries, the NAA, recommended in its report that the new EC countries joining the Western European Union, which forms the military arm of the EC, should also be invited to join NATO. NATO's offer of membership should be presented to all new EC members, whether traditionally neutral or not.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto considered the discussion of Finland's possible NATO membership premature. According to Haavisto, Finland is not under any security threat that would force a decision now and that the question will arise in 1996 at the earliest, which is when the EC meets to consider its future security policy.
The President of the Republic of Italy, Oscar Scalfaro, paid a state visit to Finland at the invitation of President Koivisto. Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto discussed the central issues of Finland's EC negotiations, namely agricultural and regional policy, institutional questions and the European Monetary Union (EMU), with Foreign Minister Beniamo Andreatta.
The Federal Chancellor of Austria, Franz Vranitzky, paid a working visit to Finland, representing both Austria and the EFTA. In Finland he met President Koivisto, Prime Minister Aho, Minister of Foreign Affairs Haavisto and Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen. The topic of discussion was the situation regarding the EC membership negotiations.
The Wilton Park Conference was held in Helsinki, with the main topic concerning the enlargement of the European Community. Prime Minister Aho said that he expected all the countries that applied for membership to be treated fairly and equally when the decision-making process of the EC is renewed. Aho explained Finland's application on the grounds of comprehensive security.
The member of the EC Commission responsible for EC enlargement and external relations, Hans van den Broek, visited Finland. The main topics of the discussions were Finland's EC membership negotiations, particularly concerning agriculture, environmental policy, alcohol policy, institutional questions and issues related to foreign and security policy in Europe.
After the President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, abolished the powers of the Russian Parliament and the Congress, the government of Finland announced on 22.9 that Finland would support ‘the reform process in Russia, in which President Yeltsin has a central role. The government of Finland considers it vital that the reform progresses on the basis of a working democracy'. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs argued that the government's announcement is firstly a logical continuation of previous policies and, secondly, that it is consistent with the announcements of other Western countries.
During the government's informal evening session, several ministers were surprisingly critical of an amendment to the peacekeeping act that would allow Finnish UN soldiers to participate in more dangerous missions than at present.
At a meeting of the Nordic Ministers of the Environment in Kalmar, Sweden, the ministers praised the decision made by the Finnish Parliament on 24.9 to reject the building of a fifth nuclear power plant.
The Prime Minister of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, visited Finland. The central theme of the visit was the expansion of the EC and Finland's membership negotiations. Portugal supports Finland's membership of the EC, because the Portuguese believe it would strengthen the position of the small countries within it.
The question of Finland's NATO membership was brought up when the Chairman of the Swedish People's Party, Minister of Communications and Transport Ole Norrback, proposed that Finland's NATO membership be discussed immediately. Norrback said that he considered Finland's NATO membership possible. The presidential candidate for the Centre Party, Paavo Väyrynen, stated that the break-up of military alliances has not weakened the policy of neutrality; indeed in Väyrynen's opinion Finland could join the EC while still maintaining its neutrality. Prime Minister Aho reminded those concerned that NATO is not about to take on new members.
The Cabinet Foreign Affairs Committee assembled due to the crises in Russia and made an appeal for the restoration of order with as little use of force as possible. The government stated that it has supported the reform process to establish democracy in Russia and that it has emphasised the role of the freely-elected President Yeltsin in the process.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto and Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen, accompanied by delegations, participated in the third ministerial meeting concerning Finland's EC membership negotiations in Luxembourg. The focal issue was the import ban on nuclear waste and the agreement according to which, even as a member of the EC, Finland is free to buy nuclear fuel from any country.
Prime Minister Aho and Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto pointed out that the recent events in Russia give no cause for a new definition of security policy in Finland. They also saw no reason to continue the debate on Finland's NATO membership.
According to a published opinion poll concerning EC membership, the number of supporters had increased slightly compared to the previous spring. According to the poll, 53% of Finns were in favour of EC membership, while the number of opponents had dropped to 35%.
President Koivisto and Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto, both with delegations, took part in a meeting of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States of the Council of Europe, held in Vienna. President Koivisto gave a speech during the meeting, in which he touched on the situation in Russia before saying he hoped that Russia would become a member of the Council of Europe.
Finland, Sweden and Japan participated as observer delegations in the annual meeting of the NATO parliamentary organisation (NAA) held in Copenhagen.
Prime Minister Aho visited Japan, where he met the new Prime Minister of Japan, Morihiro Hosokawa, and the leaders of Japan's foreign trade and industry. This was the first visit by the Finnish Prime Minister and the purpose of the visit was to strengthen economic relations between Finland and Japan.
The joint committee of MPs from Finland and the EC convened for its second meeting in Brussels. During the meeting the committee discussed Finland's EC membership application, with topics including the current stage of the membership negotiations, the expansion of the EC, the development of the institutions of the EC, agriculture, regional policy and questions concerning security policy and defence policy.
According to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Russia has proposed to the Western alliance of NATO that the fifth article of the TAE agreement on the restriction of conventional arms not be put into practice. The fifth article limits the number of contractual arms located in the so-called flanks; Russia's flanks are the North Caucasus and the military district of Leningrad.
Prime Minister Aho visited Brussels, where he met the Prime Minister of Belgium, Jean-Luc Dehaene, the Chairman of the EC Commission, Jacques Delors, and several other leading EC Commission figures. The core themes of the discussions were the economic situation in Europe and the ongoing enlargement process of the EC, including Finland's membership negotiations. During his visit Aho also met the Secretary General of NATO, Manfred Wörner, with whom he discussed questions related to European security. In Prime Minister Aho's view, Finland will settle for observer status in the North Atlantic Co-operation Council.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto visited Washington, where he met the US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, and spoke at the prestigious International Press Club. In his speech Haavisto said that Finland had applied for EC membership mainly on economic grounds but also for reasons of security policy. According to Haavisto, ‘the decision was made easier by the fact that Finland is a completely European country, a member of the Euroatlantic community'. He added that with regard to military security Finland will not exclude any options.
The Minister of Defence of Russia, army General Pavel Gratshov, paid an official visit to Finland, where he met his hostess Minister of Defence Rehn and President Koivisto. The ministers' talks were dominated by the attitude of Russia towards Finland's potential NATO membership and the number of arms and troops located in Finland's adjacent areas in the military district of Leningrad.
Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen paid an official visit to the Republic of South Africa; the first at official ministerial level. Salolainen was accompanied by a large delegation of representatives of trade and industry. The purpose of the visit was to promote trade between Finland and the Republic of South Africa.
The President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Walesa, and Mrs. Walesa visited Finland at President Koivisto's invitation. The focal themes in the discussions were the security aspirations of both countries, the current situation in Russia and Russian trade. Prior to his visit, President Walesa gave an interview in which he stressed that Finland should strive for NATO membership.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto and Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen participated in a ministerial meeting between Finland and the European Union in Brussels. The meeting incorporated issues defined in the Maastricht Treaty that were to be negotiated, namely foreign policy, the economic and monetary union and co-operation in the fields of justice and home affairs. During the meeting the ministers met foreign ministers from the EU and members of the EU Commission. Foreign policy did not evoke discussion, as Finland announced that it would accept all the Maastricht articles as such.
President Koivisto visited Washington, where he gave a lecture on the conditions in Russia at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Koivisto said that the aid given by industrial countries should be well planned and subject to certain conditions.
Prime Minister Aho approached the President of the EC Commission, Jacques Delors, by letter. Aho expressed his concern over preliminary information according to which southern Finland would be left out of the less favoured areas that receive regional support. In his letter, Aho described the difficulties that agriculture in Finland currently suffers from and emphasised the importance of agriculture in Finland's EU negotiations.
The Foreign Minister of Germany, Klaus Kinkel, proposed, in his speech given at the Defence Academy of Germany, a new European security order that would cover the whole CSCE area, and therefore also Finland and Austria. In Kinkel's opinion, Finland and Austria should be accepted as members of the North Atlantic Co-operation Council (NACC). However, Kinkel did not wish to press the enlargement of NATO.
Finland's EU membership negotiations were facilitated after the EU Parliament decided that new members can be accepted before the revision of the Union laws. It was noted that the need for the revision is pressing, but that it will not compromise the enlargement of the Union.
According to a survey conducted by Finnish Gallup for the Planning Committee for National Defence Information, in October/November the main arguments defending Finland's EU membership are internationalisation and international co-operation. For Finns, the EU is not a security issue. Those against EU membership argue that membership would entail the loss of independence.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto told the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee that the government has frozen the motion to amend the peacekeeping act, which would allow Finnish UN soldiers to be sent to more dangerous missions than at present. The plan had to be frozen due to resistance from the government and the Parliament.
At a meeting of the Paasikivi Society, President Mauno Koivisto condensed his views in a ‘foreign policy testament': "The Paasikivi-Kekkonen Line, or ‘Finnish line', is still viable in the present circumstances, which are marked by drastic ideological changes. We have to bear in mind our geopolitical position, our historical experience and other obvious facts; we must try to maintain good neighbourly relations; we want to take part in international co-operation as a loyal, responsible member; and we must strive for what is best for the country and the people. With all certainty, no-one else will do that for us.”
The Chairman ofthe Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, Pertti Paasio, took part in aparliamentary meeting of the West European Union (WEU) in Paris. During the meetingPaasio stressed that Finland should apply for an observer membership within theorganisation.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto participated in the fourth meeting of the foreign ministers of the CSCE countries, which was held in Rome. One of the main issues was the attitude adopted with regards to the peacekeeping needs of the former Soviet Union.
The meeting of the foreign ministers of the North Atlantic Co-operation Council was held in Brussels; Finland participated in the meeting as an observer. Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Blomberg addressed the meeting. In his address he said that Finland looked forward to receiving more information about the US Partnership for Peace programme, which NATO is currently discussing.
At the Brussels summit the political leaders of the European Union confirmed that Finland and the three other countries applying for EU membership will receive posts within the EU Commission.
The EU Finance Ministers gave their final approval on the common economic area for the EU and EFTA, the European Economic Space FF5. FF5 will start a year behind schedule and 59 months after the Chairman of the EU Commission, Jacques Delors, proposed the ‘third path', i.e. arranging EC and EFTA relations in a new way.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs commented on the preliminary results of the parliamentary elections in Russia, which predicted that extreme nationalists and communists would get two-thirds of the seats. Haavisto said he was not worried about the results of the elections and that he considered it positive that the country has been able to arrange free elections and the approval of a new constitution. All of this, he went on to say, gives Russia a strong basis from which the democratisation process can move forward. According to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the result has no effect on the relations between Finland and Russia, nor does it affect Finland's negotiations with the EU.
The seven-year Uruguay round of negotiations of the customs treaty GATT ended in Genova, where an agreement was reached on the new rules governing international world trade. The agreement will affect approximately 15% of Finland's foreign trade; the majority of Finland's exports already fall within the sphere of free trade.
At an EFTA ministerial meeting in Vienna, the Minister of Foreign Trade accepted the EFTA chairmanship on behalf of Finland. The meeting confirmed that the common European Economic Space (EES), which consists of of six EFTA countries and the European Union, will be effective from the beginning of next year. The main themes of the meeting were the future role of EFTA and combining it with FF5.
Prime Minister Aho said that Finland does not intend to arrange its security solely on the Partnership for Peace offered by NATO. He pointed out that Finland could instead place its expertise in peacekeeping issues related to the Partnership for Peace at the disposal of other members.
According to information published in newspapers, France sent an official letter to the government of Finland, in which it expresses its wish that the dispute between the two countries concerning the export of paper be solved quickly. France accentuated the note with a reference to the difficulties in Finland's EU membership negotiations. In Minister of Foreign Trade Salolainen's view, Finland's membership negotiations and the dispute concerning paper export are not co-measurable matters.
At a ministerial meeting between Finland and the European Union, the closure of five negotiation chapters was agreed; these included the new fields pertaining to the Maastricht Treaty, which are foreign and security policy, home affairs and justice, Union citizenship and the protocol concerning social policy.
Together with other applicant countries, Finland issued a declaration in which it announced that it is ready and willing to fully and actively participate in the common foreign and security policy, and that in joining the EU it would accept, in their entirety and without reserve, all the objectives of chapter V of the Treaty and all relevant declarations enclosed in the Treaty'.
An agreement was reached over the monopoly sales of alcohol, free trade with the Baltic Countries, technical obstacles of trade and environmental policy. Of the 29 chapters, 15 are now ready.
The agreement on European Economic Space was finally sealed in Finland, when the President of the Republic issued a decree that the agreement would enter into force.