Finnish Expatriate Parliament

The 8th plenary session of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament, 22.-23. May 2015


The eighth session of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament convened in Helsinki on 22.-23. May 2015, in the magnificent University of Helsinki Grand Hall. The representatives of expatriate Finnish organisations worked also in the nearby old main building auditorios within eight Committees. The adopted 41 resolutions form a strong expatriate Finnish viewpoint about challenges, problems and ideas. They are also suggestions for embetterments to legislators and state administration.

Altogether 519 Finnish expatriate organisations from 38 countries were invited to the session, representing Finnish expatriate organisations which have joined the work of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament (FEP) by ratifying its by-laws and standing order. They could join the activities by sending representatives with voting rights and their observers, and by preparing motions for resolutions in advance. The session was participated by 187 persons from 21 countries, representing a total of 125 expatriate Finnish organisations. In presence at the session were 140 representatives of these organisations and their 47 official observers.

Additionally, present were also invited guests and the press. Next to the Grand Hall, in the right-hand side hall, 11 specialist session display partners covering both state and non-state parties offered information and services tailored specifically at expatriate Finns.

A fine number of initiatives, that is 54 motions for resolutions were handed in following rules. Thank you to all the expatriate Finnish organisations who submitted them! After combining, a total of 41 initiatives with secretariat provided backgrounds were processed by the committees of the assembly session. Within eight committees of the session, the representatives of expatriate Finnish organisations processed the received motions, now named as proposals for resolutions and containing background contextualisations by the Secretariat. On second day of the session, they were handed for plenary deliberation. The plenary can modify the resolution proposals and votes about their rejection or adopting as FEP resolutions.

This exciting plenary debate on all resolutions exists as a readily accessible readio broadcast and it can be listened to whenever, wherever, because a local Helsinki radio station Radio Rapu made a full recording of day two of the plenary. Thus you can now listen to the interesting pre-voting discussions over the 41 motions for resolutions and all the day's speeches. Click open and listen here the high quality recording: Recording 

The 2015 resolutions of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament

have been compiled together, translated into Swedish and English and printed. They were handed over at the Senate (Finnish Government House) on 27.10.2015 to Prime Minister Mr Juha Sipilä, represented by Secretary of State Ms Paula Lehtomäki. From the PM's office, the compilation of the 41 resolutions will leave for a round of commentary to various ministries of the government.

This full compilation of the 2015 resolutions includes an Introduction by the Speakers' Council, and you can read or download it for printing here: 2015 Resolution compilation

It is also available alongside the resolutions of all previous sessions on our home page here here: Activity > Resolutions > .

The adopted resolutions but only their short decisions were already part of the Session's Minutes. You can read them here under 'Minutes' or download this list here:
2015 Resolutions short decisions

The Secretariat is happy to answer all queries.

Furthermore you find below a Summary of Initiatives. It is a list of abstracts of the original initiatives left to the parliament's deliberation. After some similar ones may have been joined and the Secretariat added background to them, they became motions for resolutions which entered the parliamentary committees. The committees shape them into proposals for resolutions which the plenary session may modify and rejects or adopts them as FEP resolutions. 

The Minutes of the 2015 session

The Minutes of the parliamentary assembly session have been sent within two months of the session to all expatriate Finnish organisations and to all session representatives and observers. Its annexes include all speeches, a list of session participants and, a summary list of abstracts of adopted resolutions.

Annexes to session Minutes include: a list of the short versions of all adopted resolutions (41 pcs), that is, the decisions, and a list of all representatives and observers who participated in the session, and all held speeches. The Minutes with annexes can be accessed here (version still partly in Finnish - Finnish and Swedish versions complete, under respective home page languages):
2015 Minutes with annexes ENG  

New FEP Speakers' Council elected by the session

The Minutes of the assembly session also contain abstracts of the regional reports for 2012-2015 by the eight FEP regional representatives around the world, that is, by the FEP Deputy Speakers. They were delived at the beginning of the parliamentary session. Please also visit the space of the FEP regions at this home page under: > FEP's regions.

A new FEP Speakers' Council for 2015-2017 will be responsible for advancing the now adopted resolutions. They are introduced elsewhere at these home pages under 'the Speakers' Council' (see the left column) and also under > 'FEP's regions' (see top bar). Alongside the Speaker Mr Jarmo Virmavirta, the Speakers' Council consists of the eight regional representatives chosen by their regions, confirmed as the eight FEP Deputy Speakers by the parliamentary assembly. FEP Secretariat (Finland Society) carries on and advances this work under Speakers' Council guidance. The new Speakers' Council will present in the Introduction of the upcoming full compilation adopted resolutions which matters it shall forward as its main objectives.

The agenda of the 2015 parliamentary session is contained within the session's program (in three languages):
2015 Istunnon ohjelma - session program  

Report on the work of the Secretariat and Speakers' Council, 2012-2015

The speech of the managing director of Finland Society, Ms Paula Selenius, covered progress to advance the resolutions of the 2012 session during the presently ending parliament period 2012-2015. One month before the session the Secretariat sent to all assembly session participants a Report on the work of the Secretariat and Speakers's Council during 2012-2015. You find it here (to complete this English version): Report of Secretariat 2012-2015  

Summary over submitted resolution proposals

that is, the speech of the parliament secretary, also contained a suggestion on the division of the committees during the assembly - this committee structure was eventually adopted by the session:
2015 Summary of motions

<15Full summary of initiatives submitted to the session

A total of 54 initiatives were originally submitted for consideration by the 2015 session. Their final number became clear after some of them were combined: 41 initiatives. This summary of initiatives lists the initiatives in a short descriptive form as they arrived to the Secretariat, with their original titles, but also already combined to make the final 41 initiatives, as well as grouped tentatively under committees (English version available soon):

Finnish expatriate organisations had time to leave in their initiatives (motion for resolution) until 22.2.2015, which is three months before the session. The form to draft initiative and advice how to do it you find here: here (see also starting page, under main category Activity: Initiatives). An initiative can be done either on the ready form (hotlink above) or freely but always in written form. It contains details of the organisation leaving it, a title revealing its objective, a short initiative text, and tells about the background leading to it, objectives and meaning. Just as with session registration forms, a motion must always be confirmed with organisational signature.

The Finnish national parliament II Deputy Speaker Mr Ben Zyskowicz delivered the opening speech of the first assembly session day 22.5.2015. It can be read here:
Festive opening speech 2015 Ben Zyskowicz

Member of Parliament Mr Pekka Haavisto held the guest festive speech of the second assembly day 23.5.2015. It can be read here:
Guest festive speech 2015 Pekka Haavisto  

Radio Rapu brought the assembly session into radio!

A local radio station in Helsinki, Radio Rapu (Radio Crab) recorded the whole of the second day of the session, 23. May 2015. Even if you could not be present, you can still listen to the exciting plenary debate about the resolutions before voting on the 41 resolution proposals began. The day's recording also includes the festive guest speech of MEP Pekka Haavisto, and as a third high-quality pod cast or sound file, the end of the plenary pre-voting debate and the closing speech of the 8th session by FEP Speaker Mr Jarmo Virmavirta. You can listen to the recordings here:

Radio Rapu home pages are at The local radio airs direct program within the greater region of Helsinki at wave length 107,4 MHz. Alternatively, the program
is available throughout the world via a radio looking 'radio player' which can be clicked open at its internet home page (

Pre-session programs (4)

In connection with the two-day long parliamentary session, interestig pre-session program is traditionally arranged for the preceding day. On Thursday 21. May 2015 one participatory dialogue event, two seminars and a mid-day Celebratory worship in Helsinki cathedral were held.

1. 'Finland in year 2017: does expatriate Finnishness matter?' (9-11.15 am)

was held together with the 100-year jubilee project of the Government as a dialogue event in view of planning for the state's centennial celebration year 2017. Thanks to our governmental co-host the Finland 100 under the Finnish Government (Valtioneuvosto), we got to meet in the magnificent House of the Estates (Säätytalo / Ständerhuset) (Snellmanninkatu 9-11 where our country was declared independent in 1917. Program: 2015_Dialogue_Suomi100

The greetings of the Finnish Foreign Office were brought by State Secretary Peter Stenlund. He underlined among others, that under the leadership of the Finnish Embassies abroad, Team Finland has been tasked and expatriate Finnish organisations participate in the 100th anniversary celebration preparations via them.

The General Secretary of Finland 100 Pekka Timonen painted in an inspiring way a picture of the state preparations and high-lighted the them "Together".

Chairman of the Finland Society who is also the Speaker of the Finnish Expatriate Parliament, Mr Jarmo Virmavirta reminded, that in expatriate Finn regions and among expatriate Finns the planning for 2017 already goes on busily, and that the Network of expatriate Finns a resource base to utilise and reckon with.

Expatriate Finns, many from organisations expecting to join the FEP parliament session the next day, parcipated eagerly and left many message to the organisers. All of them, whether relayed during the dialogue or afterwards, are safe with us.

A suprise one-man theatre show by famous actor Antti Virmavirta paved the participants' way with help of Finnish writer Veikko Huovinen's literary character Konsta Pylkkänen. Helped by this forest worker and wilderness philosophist 'Konsta Pylkkänen', the listeners were led to ponder about what being Finnish and Finnishness means.

This is how the state's 100th anniversary year committee Suomi 100/Finland 100 tells about our joint event in its own news circular Uutiskirje 2/2015 (17.6.2015): Sydän Suomessa, tunne suomalaisuudesta yhdistää ulkomailla

2. Senior Seminar 'Old Age and two home lands' (1-5 pm)

gathered after the mid-day celebratory opening church service in the beautiful crypt of the same Helsinki Cathedral (address Kirkkokatu 18, Helsinki is worth visiting). Nearly 80 participants joined the Senior Seminar. Councelor Mr Risto Laakkonen opened the panel discussion. Others present were the expatriate work of the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church (Ministry of Finns Abroad), Ministry of Social and Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finnish Seamen's Church of northern Germany, Swedish-Finnish pensioners and Institute of Migration from Turku.
Program (in Finnish): 2015_Senioriseminaari_korjattu
When completed, Senior Seminar meeting minutes are posted here: ____

3. Suomi-koulu Seminar (21.5.2015 1-5 pm).

was as a novelty on offer for everyone interested in Suomi-koulu matters, weather intended FEP session participant or not. This was thanks to the Chairperson of the Central Europe Region of the FEP, Ms Kati Hognes, and the Frankfurt Suomi-koulu. The free seminar was held in Finnish in one of the auditoriums of the University of Helsinki main old building by the Senate Square. Participants numbered about 40 and dealt with the financial base of the Suomi-koulu's and the brand new teaching guideline recommendation. Speakers included Ms #2Maila Eichhorn from Suomi-koulujen Tuki ry and Ms Leena Nissilä from Directorate of Education. Enquiries:, Ohjelma:

4. FEP Celebratory opening service (at noon 12.00).

at the Helsinki Cathedral was the responsibility of the Cathedral Parish, with program support by the Ministry to Finns Abroad. The sermon was delivered by the Bishof Espoo and the very own Bishop of Expatriate Finns, Mr Tapio Luoma

Regional meetings

The many FEP Regional meetings preceding the parliament assembly session were held as is traditional, one day previously on Thursday 21. May, 2015, in the afternoon or in early evening. Fore Regional meetings convened in Finland Society premises. Region for East Europe met in Inkeri Centre. Two regional meetings could meet at the new address of the Central Church Authority at 'Church's house' (Eteläranta 8). For this, the FEP thanks the leader of Ministry To Expatriate Finns, Canon Ilkka Mäkelä. Regional meetings make their own choices for Regional representative, that is, the FEP Deputy Speaker, which is then confirmed by the parliament assembly. You find regional news on these home pages under 'FEP's regions'.

Speakers' Council

also held its traditional parliamentary session related meeting during the days leading up to the session (on Wednesday 20.5.2015 at 9 am). Minutes of Speakers' Council meetings are posted to: > Activity > Speakers' Council. Also have a look at the page of the regions: > FEP's regions (choose one of eight world regions).

Finally, this is how preparations progressed on the road to the May 2015 parliament session:

Basic information about the parliament session is found here:

Follow this page! Please do not hesitate to contact your Regional representative or the Secretariat at:

The next Finnish Expatriate Parliament session is a 20th anniversary session in autumn 2017, the 100th anniversary year of Finnish Independence.

Follow this page! Do get in touch with your regional representative or with the secretariat: