Budget proposal appropriations fail to make up for a deficit that has grown over the years
The 2022 budget proposal envisages a total of some EUR 1,566 million for the main title of the Ministry of the Interior. This total includes EUR 856 million for policing, some EUR 280 million for the Finnish Border Guard, EUR 87 million for rescue services and the Emergency Response Centre Administration, and EUR 160 million for immigration.
The budget proposal indicates a fall of EUR 10 million in appropriations for the Ministry of the Interior administrative sector compared to the approved budget for 2021. While appropriations for the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) and the Finnish Immigration Service are reduced due to previous framework decisions, more funds than this year are proposed for other agencies. The overall cut is mainly due to technical reductions totalling EUR 39 million proposed for the reception services item. These reflect a fall in the number of asylum seekers with a consequent reduction in the need for funding.
The financial position of the Ministry of the Interior administrative sector is highly challenging, with a funding deficit that has arisen over a sustained period. While the current government has made several supplements, these are insufficient to rectify the maintenance backlog that has accrued over the years. The situation will evidently not be rectified at a stroke or on a rapid timetable.
Police funding has been increased over the term of the present Government
Nearly EUR 808 million is proposed for policing, representing an increase of approximately EUR 8.6 million over the approved budget for 2021.
In accordance with the Government Programme and spending limits decision for 2022, the police will have EUR 10 million available for increasing the overall working hours of police officers to the target level of 7,500 person-years. This appropriation will increase to EUR 18 million in 2023 under the spending limits decision.
The Government budget session decided to increase police funding by a total of EUR 10.6 million in order to maintain the number of person-years and continue the human trafficking unit. The police also received EUR 1.2 million and 15 person-years to combat crime in critical industries, and EUR 1.05 million for expenditure arising from the amendment of section 9 of Chapter 25 of the Criminal Code (Menace).
The situation remains difficult despite the increased policing budget, as expenditure has grown more rapidly than the increased budget. With limited manoeuvring room in general government finances, the police will have to implement consolidation measures next year to bring expenditure into line with the available funding.
Police appropriations will be steered in accordance with the Government Programme, with resources allocated to policing operations. Appropriations will be allocated to ensure the presence and visibility of the police, especially in areas with the lowest service levels, such as sparsely populated districts. The operational capacity of the National Anti-Trafficking Police Unit and network will also be ensured.
Additional resources to combat the grey economy
Implementation of the Action Plan for Tackling the Grey Economy and Economic Crime will be continued, with an allocation of some EUR 1.3 million proposed as part of the financing of the European Union Recovery Instrument to ensure effective control and enforcement of anti-money laundering operations.
An allocation of EUR 40.8 million is proposed for the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo), which is EUR 3.7 million less than the funding allocated in the 2021 budget. This reduction is due to the end of temporary information system funding.
A moderate rise in appropriations for border security
EUR 275 million is proposed for Border Guard operations, together with EUR 5 million for purchasing aircraft and patrol vessels. An increase of EUR 1 million is proposed in accordance with the Government Programme to safeguard the operating capacity of border security services and the number of border guards, thereby increasing the appropriation to EUR 3.3 million.
Supplements for the emergency response centre information system and for ensuring on-call staffing at emergency response centres.
A total of some EUR 87.5 million is proposed for rescue and emergency response centre operations. Some EUR 21 million of this total is proposed for rescue operations, and approximately EUR 65 million for the Emergency Response Centre Administration. Some EUR 2 million is proposed for special expenses.
A total of EUR 2 million has been set aside to ensure on-call staffing at emergency response centres, representing an increase of EUR 0.5 million over the budget for the current year. An increase of 4.2 million is proposed for maintaining and developing the emergency call centre information system, bringing total funding for 2022 to EUR 4.7 million.
The budget proposal includes EUR 0.4 million to cover additional resource requirements for directing rescue operations in welfare areas. Other substantial development pressures also affect rescue operations and preparedness, such as reinforcing nationwide management and operating capacity and ensuring the number of rescue service trainees.
Government invests in boosting immigration for employment
A total allocation of just over EUR 160 million is proposed for the immigration class. EUR 65 million is proposed to cover the operating costs of the Finnish Immigration Service and government-operated reception centres. Finnish Immigration Service funding will fall by EUR 1.7 million from the level of the 2021 budget due to eliminating non-recurrent supplements.
The Government has increased funding in order to clear a backlog of residence permit applications for work and education, to improve automation, and to improve the UMA electronic case management system.
The Government budget session added EUR 2 million to safeguard operations and promote immigration for employment, and EUR 1 million to accelerate processing of residence permit applications from specialists, growth entrepreneurs and migrant workers. EUR 7.8 million from the European Union Recovery Instrument will provide for implementing an automated digital infrastructure in support of skilled immigration. All of these supplementary investments are important steps to increasing immigration for employment in order to combat the growing labour shortage.
Kati Korpi, Director of Finance and Planning, tel. +358 295 488 513
Heikki Sairanen, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Interior, tel. +358 50 456 4662