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Country Reports

Finland Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

There is an elevated risk of rearrangement of the left-leaning coalition led by the centre-left Social Democratic Party, stemming from probable disagreements among partners over environmental and labour policies. The five-party coalition has a parliamentary majority of 117 out of 200 seats. The government is likely to progress with environmentally oriented policies in 2020, but a comprehensive overhaul of the taxation and regulatory regime is unlikely. Steps towards implementing the long-planned healthcare and administrative reforms are likely. The budget deficit, currently below 1% of GDP, is expected to remain modest, and the government debt/GDP ratio has eased below 60% of GDP. Structural challenges, such as unfavourable demographics, present fiscal challenges in the next three to five years. Although unemployment has been easing (from 8.6% in 2017 to 7.5% in 2018), further improvement is constrained by labour shortages and difficulties in dismissing employees. Economic growth is projected at 1.73% in 2019 and 1.2% in 2020. The outlook for exports is deteriorating together with the weakening growth outlook for external demand in the EU and Russia. The construction investment boom is slowing, while modest wage growth will dampen household demand. Industrial productivity remains structurally uncompetitive. The risk of industrial action and peaceful protests relating to disputes between trade unions and employers is high. Trade unions can initiate large strikes, causing disruption for days. Centralised wage negotiations between employers' organisations, trade unions, and the government will remain a key feature of the Finnish consensus-seeking labour-market policy model.Finland is unlikely to join NATO in the two-year outlook. Any moves towards NATO membership would be subject to a referendum and conducted jointly with Sweden. Closer military co-operation with Sweden and NATO probably will continue, increasing the risk of Finnish involvement in the unlikely event of a direct Russia-NATO confrontation. Airspace and naval border incursions by Russian military aircraft are likely to persist.
Last update: December 17, 2019

Operational Outlook

The workforce is well educated, infrastructure is well developed, and corruption risks are low. The most probable manifestation of corruption is undeclared conflicts of interests. Privatisations are likely to be considered by the centre-left government mainly to finance other investments, including infrastructure projects. Privatisations are likely to fuel large-scale labour strikes. Still, certain key companies and sectors are considered strategic and therefore sensitive in terms of foreign investment, in particular the energy sector, and investment coming from Russia. The labour strike risk is high and is likely to affect the manufacturing sector in early 2020. Industrial action can result in cargo disruption or disruption to normal business activities.

Last update: January 7, 2020

Terrorism

Moderate

Low-capability jihadist terrorist attacks with knives are as likely as shooting or vehicle attacks, as indicated by the August 2017 knife assault in central Turku conducted by a Moroccan citizen. According to the Finnish Security Intelligence Service, there is a homegrown radical Islamists network in Finland and approximately 370 people are potentially connected to terrorist activities, whereas the country features more prominently in radical Islamist propaganda. Coincidentally, the likelihood of far-right extremist attacks targeting government or religious assets and refugee shelters has therefore increased. Animal-rights activists are likely to use aggressive tactics against fur businesses or animal-processing industries.

Last update: January 3, 2020

Crime

Crime rates in Finland are low compared to other European countries. Organised, financial, violent, or petty crime is unlikely to have a substantial impact on business operations. Around 90 organised crime groups are active, primarily motorcycle gangs and international groups engaged in drug trafficking. Gang violence is usually limited to feuds and does not typically affect the public. In the past, there were reports on the involvement of Russian gangs in setting up protection rackets. However, such activities are unlikely to spread beyond the Russian business community.

Last update: January 4, 2020

War Risks

The fallout between the EU and Russia over the conflict in eastern Ukraine has led to closer military co-operation with Sweden and NATO, increasing the probability of Finnish involvement in the unlikely event of a direct Russia-NATO confrontation. Airspace and naval border incursions by Russian military aircraft are likely to continue. Finland is likely to abide by its plans to increase its defence spending over the next several years. The government plans to spend up to EUR10 billion on new fighter jets. Any moves towards NATO membership will likely be subject to a referendum and conducted jointly with Sweden. Finland is unlikely to join the alliance in the three-year outlook.

Last update: January 7, 2020

Social Stability

Moderate

Far-right protests have remained probable in the aftermath of the August 2017 Turku knife attack and the December 2018 investigations of sexual abuse by asylum seekers. The risk of low-level violence between demonstrators and anti-racism protesters, specifically in larger cities including Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku, is likely to be mitigated by police measures. Far-right movements are especially active during national commemoration days, such as the Independence Day on 6 December. With the majority of employees unionised, protests and labour strikes occur frequently in reaction to potential job losses or disagreements over working conditions and wages. Workers' protests and sectorial labour strikes remain likely.

Last update: January 7, 2020

Health Risk

Elevated

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B : a vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio : a booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Finland has a subarctic climate. Springs and summers are short. Winters last for some five months in the south and some seven months in Lapland (north). Temperatures are pleasant beginning in June and cool weather returns mid-August. Important fluctuations in temperatures are often observed over the course of a single day, even in summer. In the north of the country, daylight is near-constant for almost three months.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +358
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 112
Ambulance: 112

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019