On the 18th–19th of April the Embassy of Finland hosted the annual meeting for the Honorary Consuls of Finland in the United Kingdom at the Ambassador’s residence in London. At the event the group heard presentations from Mr Markku Keinänen, Under-Secretary of State for External Economic Relations from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Mr Harri Lanning, Head of Region, West Europe, at the Business Finland.
Honorary Consuls of Finland promote economic, political, academic and cultural relations between Finland and the UK, and monitor the rights of Finnish citizens in their sphere of operation. They can for example guide and assist in contacts with the local authorities or the embassy. However, their possibilities to provide assistance are limited, nor for instance can they grant a passport. Finland has about 400 honorary consulates around the world, of which 20 in the United Kingdom.
One of the purposes of the annual meetings is to support the honorary consuls’ work by giving advice, information and tools to assist them. The annual meeting is also a great opportunity for the honorary consuls to connect and share ideas with each other.
This year’s meeting started with an update on Finnish-UK relations and Finnish politics and economy by Ambassador Päivi Luostarinen and Mr Keinänen. After this Consul Riitta Kukkonen briefed the participants of the consular tasks honorary consuls can carry out. The meeting also included a presentation on Team Finland, Business Finland’s work, and a glance at possible market opportunities for Finnish companies in the UK by Mr Lanning. We finished with updates from the regions by the honorary consuls.
The meeting was overall a success – we even had a beautiful weather all day. Thank you to all the organisers, participants and speakers!