Finland is a parliamentary republic with a head of government - the prime minister - and a head of state - the president. The central government is based in Helsinki and the local governments in the 309 municipalities (towns and cities). The country is divided into 19 regions and 70 sub-regions. The smallest region, Åland, is an autonomous archipelago in the south-west. The northern Lappi region comprises the Sami Domicile Area, home to around half of Finland’s indigenous Sami people (also known as Lapps or Laplanders).
Trade and economy
The most important sectors of Finland’s economy in 2020 were industry (20.3%), public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (20.6%) and wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (14.0%).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 55% of Finland’s exports (Germany 14%, Sweden 10% and the Netherlands 7%), while outside the EU 9% go to the United States and 5% to China.
In terms of imports, 72% come from EU Member States (Germany and Sweden 17%and the Netherlands 9%), while outside the EU 10% come from Russia and 4% from China.
Finland in the EU
Council of the EU
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Finnish government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
Presidency of the Council of the EU
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Finnish presidencies:
Jul-Dec 1999 | Jul-Dec 2006 | Jul-Dec 2019
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
European Economic & Social Committee
Finland has 9 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
European Committee of the Regions
Finland has 9 representatives on the European Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Permanent representation to the EU
Finland also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Finland's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Budgets and Funding
How much does Finland pay and receive?
How much each EU country pays into the EU budget is calculated fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa.
The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather focuses on the needs of Europeans as a whole.
Figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
EU-funded projects in Finland
The money paid into the EU budget by Finland helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Finland benefits from EU funding.