Press Releases, 11/25/2011
The Foreign Ministry is saving and reorganising its network abroad
Press release 318/2011
25 November 2011
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs continues to implement the savings required by the Government’s proposal for the budget and spending limits by closing down Finland’s Consulate General in Canton, China and the Consulate in Las Palmas, Spain, during 2012. Las Palmas will operate as an Honorary Consulate. Finland’s representation on the west coast of the United States will be concentrated in the mission located in the Silicon Valley of California, which will operate according to the ‘House of Finland’ principle.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will concentrate its resources in China in the Consulates General in Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as in the Embassy in Beijing. In addition, Finland is negotiating with Hungary with a view to arranging visa services in the Chongqing metropolitan area.
On the west coast of the United States, the Ministry will transfer the operations of the Consulate General in Los Angeles to a representation located in the Silicon Valley by the summer of 2013; this will become a ‘House of Finland’ assembling various government functions under the same roof. At present, the premises are used by Finpro and Tekes.
The Consulate in Las Palmas will be replaced by an Honorary Consulate during 2012. Its future operations will be modelled after the Honorary Consulate in Malaga, which has successfully produced the necessary consular services for the Costa del Sol region with the support of the Embassy in Madrid.
The changes in the network of diplomatic missions are the Foreign Ministry’s answer to the requirement imposed on State administration to improve the effectiveness and productivity of the public sector and to cut costs. The Ministry is forced to seek structural savings by trimming the network of diplomatic missions and has already earlier decided to close down the embassies in Caracas, Manila and Islamabad.
In 2010, the total cost of the diplomatic missions network was about 108 million euros, which was about 0.21 per cent of the State budget. With the above reforms, the Ministry estimates that it can save about one million euros.
Additional information: Under-Secretary of State Peter Stenlund, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 5020, and Director General Ari Rouhe, tel. +358 9 1605 5400