Growing UAE-Finland ties reaffirmed on Finnish Independence Day

Ambassador Marianne Nissila underlined that digitalisation, circular economy, smart energy, health and education are the key sectors of cooperation for both the countries


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Tue 6 Dec 2022, 9:18 PM

The bilateral relationship between the UAE and Finland continues to flourish across various sectors, a top envoy said during the celebrations of Finland’s 105th Independence Day in Abu Dhabi.

“The relations are outstanding. We might be geographically a bit far away from each other but there has been enough interest in building a good bilateral relationship,” Marianne Nissila, Ambassador of Finland to the UAE, said in an interview.

The UAE has maintained diplomatic relations with Finland since 1975. Non-oil bilateral trade increased 9.5 per cent between 2020 and 2021 and now stands at $274.7 million.

Nissila underlined that digitalisation, circular economy, smart energy, health and education are the key sectors of cooperation for both the countries, while tackling challenges of climate change is a shared commitment.

“We have very ambitious climate targets. For example, our Net Zero target is 2035. And in order to get there, we really need a very big contribution from our private sector. So, we try to build cooperation there. We were also the first country to have a national strategy for a circular economy. So, I think there might be some lessons from our journey, which started in 2016, that we can share here.”

Marianne Nissila
Marianne Nissila

Nissila noted that bilateral engagement was at its peak during Expo 2020 Dubai, which helped in enhancing trade and building new partnerships.

“We are trying to deepen cooperation and make it more concrete,” she added.

Highlighting the UAE's appointment of Amna Mahmoud Fikri as its non-resident Ambassador to Finland in September, Nissila said: “Now I have a partner and colleague with whom we are taking things forward together.”

She pointed out that 2023 is expected to be busier, with official and business visits. “I think, in general, 2023 will be a busy year for visits. I’m looking forward to receiving visits from Finland to the UAE, but we are also expecting some to take place the other way around.”


Asked how some 1,150 Finnish residents, coming from one of the happiest countries in the world, feel in the UAE, the ambassador said: “They feel very honoured to have the opportunity to be here and contribute to building this country. I’m sure they find the place very safe and secure. And I’m sure they appreciate the diversity and the tolerance of the country. I’m sure they do miss Finland as well.”

She stressed that the Independence Day events were also a moment to show gratitude and respect for the people of Ukraine affected by the Russian invasion.

As part of the celebrations, a concert by Finnish musicians Kirsi Ruotsala and Jyri Nissila enthralled attendees, covering a journey of 200 years of Finnish music.

“Music can unite people from different countries and cultures,” the musicians said. They added that they landed in the UAE on December 2, when the country was decked up in glittering lights for the UAE National Day.

“It was a wonderful experience, with a city full of lights. I felt a wow effect,” Ruotsala said after seeing Abu Dhabi City.

Jyri Nissila added: “I am impressed by the architecture. There is great variety and it's beautiful and brilliant. The city is very clean and it’s safe to walk around, and Arabic food is excellent.”

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