The Republic of Finland celebrates its 100th anniversary of independence on December 6. During the year Finland has organized a multitude of events at home and abroad. The warmth and appreciation Finland and the narrative of our nation has enjoyed all over the world during the anniversary year has been touching. As the theme of this special year has been “Together”, I am glad to have been able to share our joy together with the friends of Finland in Romania, too.
When Finland gained its independence 100 years ago it meant achieving the freedom and self-determination that the Finnish nation had dreamt about for a long time. Every year on Independence Day Finland pays respect to the sacrifice, dignity and determination our earlier generations showed in building our country. Today our responsibility is to look after the achievements of the past decades: the wellbeing society with functioning and healthy institutions and also the values of our democratic nation – rule of law, good governance and equality.
Romania recognized the independence of Finland in 1920. The same year the diplomatic relations were also established. The binding factor between Finland and Romania is often found within the framework of the European union. The accession negotiations of Romania to become a member of the EU were opened in Helsinki under the first Finnish EU presidency in 1999. During Romania’s accession negotiations Finnish public institutions participated bilaterally and also in 12 Twinning projects to help Romania meeting with demands of the EU membership.
The year 2017 has brought along a large number of new contacts between Finland and Romania. The bilateral relations are very good but there is still room for deepening the dialogue. A good opportunity for that is again offered by the European union. Romania and Finland are consecutive rotating EU presidency countries in 2019. Finland will take over the presidency from Romania. Several consultative discussions and meetings have already taken place between the two capitals.
A Finn is a loyal friend whom you can trust. Our handshake is said to be the most trusted one. We say what we do and do what we say. That is also why we at the Embassy of Finland have continued in advancing our positive agenda. It is important for us to share Finnish lessons learnt and best practices focusing on areas where our experience could bring added value to the benefit of Romania. We have had a chance of meeting extremely warm and welcoming people all around the country. Our discussions and cooperation have been rewarding and mutually beneficial.
Education is a promising platform for more enhanced bilateral cooperation. This year already the fourth private institution inspired by the Finnish education system was opened in Romania. All the four schools are private schools following the Romanian curriculum but they have adopted Finnish teaching methods and their teachers are trained by Finnish teachers.
Another area of importance I wish to mention is the famous Finnish maternity kit. A Finnish charity organization has a project of tailor-making kits of the basic items for the most vulnerable babies and mothers in Romania. The organization will cooperate with Salvatii Copii and Crucea Rosie to organize the delivery of their kits for the beneficiaries.
Some Finnish companies and investors cooperate already with Romanian universities. Dual education is very useful for the local Romanian expertise and knowhow. For example in IT and R&D sectors apprenticeship at a Finnish company is combined with theoretical studies at local universities. And when students graduate, they are employed fulltime by this company. Another company from the forestry sector organizes complimentary training for its locally employed personnel and apprentices and shares also its knowhow with local universities.
In addition to the companies already active in Romania some new Finnish companies study their possibilities and explore carefully the country’s business environment. They are ready for long term commitments that would create new jobs and contribute to the knowhow of different sectors of Romania.
The December 6th concludes the celebrations of Finland’s first hundred years as an independent country. Independence means also togetherness, joining up efforts for the common good and cooperation with partners. As Romania has as well started celebrating its centennial anniversary year I would like to wish all the very best to the Romanian people and Romania, too. La Multi Ani, Romania! La Multi Ani, Finlanda!