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Press Releases, 10/8/2010

Ministry for Foreign Affairs to reform Finland’s diplomatic missions network

Press Release 293/2010
8.10. October, 2010

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will implement the following changes in the diplomatic missions network during 2011 and 2012:

– The Embassy of Finland in Caracas, Venezuela and in Manila, the Philippines will be closed. The Embassy in Caracas will be closed in summer 2011 and the Embassy in Manila by the end of 2012. The post of Roving Ambassador for the Caribbean, based in Helsinki, will be established.
– The Consulate in Gothenburg, Sweden, will be replaced by an Honorary Consulate during 2011. The Honorary Consulate will provide the same citizens’ services as the current Consulate.
– A permanent Ambassador will be appointed to the Embassy in Algiers, Algeria as from autumn 2011. At the same time, the present post of Roving Ambassador for Northern Africa will be abolished.
– A permanent Ambassador will be appointed to the Embassy of Finland in Kathmandu, Nepal during 2011. Nepal is one of Finland’s long-term development cooperation partners.
– The Branch Office in Cape Town, South Africa, which operates under the auspices of the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria, will be abolished in summer 2011.
– The present post of Roving Ambassador for the Western Balkans, situated in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, will be abolished and responsibility for handling the affairs of the countries under the Roving Ambassador’s care will be divided among Embassies in the region. The change will be implemented during 2011.
– A Liaison Office in Minsk, Belarus was opened on 1 October 2010.
– The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is making preparations for converting the Consulate General branch office in Murmansk, now under the auspices of the Consulate General in St. Petersburg, to a Consulate General.

The changes are part of the Ministry’s long-range plan for development of the diplomatic missions network, the aim being to focus the network’s resources on countries and regions whose importance is growing from Finland’s perspective.

The changes respond to the need of both the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the state administration to raise public-sector productivity and cut costs. These changes will reduce the cost of the diplomatic missions network by approximately 1.3 million euros. In 2009, the total cost of the diplomatic missions network was about 115 million euros, which was about 0.25 per cent of the State budget.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is actively seeking new approaches to enhance the efficiency of the diplomatic missions network and the capacity of the network to respond to changes in the operational environment. Finland also has good experiences of Nordic cooperation in diplomatic missions, and the intention is to increase this cooperation in various forms.

Additional information: Under-Secretary of State Peter Stenlund, mobile tel. +358 40 168 3575, and Sami Pirkkala, Adviser to the Under-Secretary of State, mobile tel. +358 40 579 2594

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Updated 10/8/2010

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