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Finland to close embassy in Philippines

The government has accepted a plan for cuts in Finland’s network of embassies abroad. Two missions will shut down as part of a plan to save money.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to close an embassy in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and a consulate in Australia’s largest city Sydney. The cuts will save around 450,000 euros.

The ministry based the decision on the reduced need for Finnish representation in the Philippines. As resources are not increasing, diplomats are to focus more on locations with a greater economic or political significance for Finland.

The embassy in Manila will become a consulate staffed by a locally-recruited Finn, offering services to Finns travelling in the country. Filipinos will be able to apply for visas from the Norwegian embassy, while bilateral links will be handled from Finland’s embassy in Malaysia.

Embassy network cutbacks

The Filipino embassy in Helsinki closed at the end of October, having opened in 2009.

Finns in Australia are to be served by the embassy in the capital Canberra following the closure of the Sydney consulate.

Finland retains a network of 84 embassies and eight consulates across the globe. Although Astana in Kazakhstan bucked the trend, hosting a new Finnish embassy opened in 2009, Finland has lost several diplomatic posts recently.

Earlier this year the embassy in Pakistan and consulates in Guangzhou and Las Palmas closed down, while last year the embassy in Caracas shut its doors.

The cutbacks are expected to continue next year.

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