PRESS RELEASE 6.6.2019

Finns residing overseas permanently voted more actively than previously in the Finnish EU election. Finnish expatriates’ turnout percentage was 5.8%, an increase of 1.5% since the previous EU elections in 2014, when the figure was 4.3%.

In the Finnish election for the European Parliament, 2,391 persons voted by post. Of these, 1,670 votes were cast by Finns living overseas permanently while 721 votes were cast by persons out of the country temporarily. In all 16,533 Finns voted in advance at Finland’s overseas representations and branch offices, about 2,200 more than during the previous EU elections five years earlier. Just over 9,000 of them were expatriate Finns. In addition, eligible voters residing overseas temporarily were allowed to vote at Finland’s foreign representations.

In the Finnish parliamentary and EU elections held this spring, Finns abroad had an option to vote in advance by absentee ballot for the first time. The Finland Society and Finnish Expatriate Parliament have campaigned for easier voting conditions for expatriate Finns.

“The increase in expatriate Finns’ voter turnout in both elections is a clear sign that the activity of Finns living overseas has increased,” says Finland Society chair Markus Aaltonen.

During the Finnish EU election, there were 240,711 eligible voters living overseas. Of these, 10,704 voted in advance either by mail or at advance voting places abroad. Some Finns living permanently in other EU countries registered as voters in their countries of residence. In that case they were not eligible to vote in the Finnish election for the European Parliament.

“Finns’ mobility overseas is a megatrend of our day that should be taken into account better in Finland,” Aaltonen emphasizes.

There are about 300,000 Finnish citizens and two million people with Finnish background living overseas. Expatriate Finns’ know-how is still an under-utilized resource when searching for experts for the Finnish labor market, exporting and promoting Finland overseas and bringing up Finns to become international experts with good language skills. The Finland Society considers it increasingly important to bring expatriate Finns closer to Finland.

More information:

Finland Society Executive Director Tina Strandberg tina.strandberg@suomi-seura.fi +358-40-777-8810

Parliamentary Secretary Sini Castrén info@usp.fi +358-9-6841-2127

The Ministry of Justice’s confirmed voting results from the European Parliament election:

https://tulospalvelu.vaalit.fi/EPV-2019/en/lasktila.html

https://vaalit.fi/en/

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs bulletin May 23, 2019: Advance voting in the European elections – 16 553 persons voted abroad https://um.fi/current-affairs/-/asset_publisher/gc654PySnjTX/content/europarlamenttivaalien-ennakkoaanestys-ulkomailla-aanesti-16-553-henkiloa

Statistics Finland bulletin June 5, 2019: European Parliament elections 2019, result of the control calculation http://tilastokeskus.fi/til/euvaa/2019/euvaa_2019_2019-06-05_tie_001_en.html