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 311 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).
The most important sectors of Finland’s economy in 2016 were public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (21.3%), industry (20.2%) and wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (15.9%).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 59% of Finland’s exports (Germany 13%, Sweden 10% and the Netherlands 7%), while outside the EU 8% go to the United States and 6% to Russia.
In terms of imports, 73% come from EU Member States (Germany 17%, Sweden 16% and the Netherlands 9%), while outside the EU 9% come from Russia and 4% from China.
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.
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 following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
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.
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.
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.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared 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 to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Finland’s finances with the EU in 2016:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
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.