MPs are also needed to represent Finland on the international scene. They regularly participate in the work of nine interparliamentary organisations, in addition to bilateral visits between parliaments. Eduskunta hosts more than one hundred visits by foreign parliamentary delegations annually to offer an introduction to the functioning of the Finnish parliamentary system. Correspondingly Finnish MPs make frequent visits and study trips abroad.
Parliament has around sixty friendship and cooperation groups established by MPs. The purpose of friendship groups is to maintain ties with parliaments in other countries and regions and to learn more about their cultures and social systems. Friendship groups supplement Parliament's official international relations. They are especially important if official contacts do not exist with a country for one reason or another.Other forms of interparliamentary cooperation are Speakers' meetings and conferences.
The purpose of the Forum for International Affairs is to develop the international work of parliamentary delegations and committees. The forum is convened by the Speaker once or twice a year. In addition to the Speaker it includes the Deputy Speakers, the committee chairs, the chairs of delegations elected by Parliament and the Speaker's Council, and a representative of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The forum also prepares plenary session discussions on international affairs each year.
The forum surveys key themes for Finland that parliamentary delegations can emphasise in international forums, under the direction of the Speaker and in cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. One task of the forum is to strengthen Parliament's visibility and cohesion in international affairs.
Tel: +358 9 4321 (switchboard)E-mail: int.dep(at)parliament.fi