Another year has flown by, and it is time to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year.
I would like to thank the Team Finland UK network, our honorary consuls, Finnish businesses, organisations and communities and all of our British and Finnish friends for your assistance and co-operation. We are very grateful for all your hard work for Finland and Finns.
Following the Brexit process and analysing its implications and impacts on domestic policies has taken much of our time at the Embassy. We have monitored the impacts for the Finnish citizens in Britain and we do our best to share topical and updated information on our website and social media channels. We have also organized events for Finnish citizens and businesses on Brexit. For Finland, it is highly important that Britain will be our close partner in the future too.
Over the past year, the Embassy organized events from artificial intelligence to freedom of speech and from corporate wellness to classical music, and arranged several media trips for British journalists to Finland. In co-operation with our Finnish and British partners, we organized dozens of events where Finnish companies introduced themselves and built up networks with relevant British partners. In addition to these, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and even invited the real Father Christmas from Rovaniemi to bring Christmas joy to children’s hospitals in London and Brighton!
Next year we will have two elections, Finnish parliamentary election in April and European parliament election in May. The Embassy will arrange advance voting in the same manner as before and we will have polling stations open around the UK. In addition to this, a possibility to vote by post will be introduced. This is something that Finns living abroad have been waiting for a long time.
Finland will also hold the rotating EU Presidency in the second half of 2019, for the third time. The EU Presidency comes at a very interesting time, not only because of Brexit, but also because of developments in Europe and around the world. Finland’s EU Presidency is an opportunity to drive forward themes that are important for years to come, such as strengthening the EU’s competitiveness and the single market, enhancing security and highlighting the climate agenda. We will be working on these themes in the UK as well.
Next year also marks 100 years of Finland’s bilateral diplomatic relations with the UK. However, before that, I would like to wish all our friends and partners happy holiday season and a successful new year 2019!
Ambassador of Finland