Agreement about transfer of Foreign Ministry’s 24/7 services to the Emergency Response Centre Agency

NordenBladet — The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Emergency Response Centre Agency (ERCA) have agreed that the Foreign Ministry’s 24/7 services will be handled by ERCA in Kerava from August 2018 onwards. Initially, the agreement will be in force for two years.

The transferred round-the-clock services will be auxiliary consular assistance tasks related to situations where a Finnish citizen or a foreign national with a permanent residence in Finland is in distress abroad due to an illness, accident or disaster or because of falling a victim of crime or for some other comparable reason.

On an annual basis, the Ministry’s 24/7 Service Centre receives approximately 7,000 to 8,000 calls related to various emergency and problem situation that have occurred abroad. Consular assistance to the eligible persons is mainly advice and guidance. In some cases, information about what has happened is communicated to the Finnish mission in the area, which then takes care of the matter.

According to Finland´s Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini, the aim of the cooperation between the Minister for Foreign Affairs and ERCA is to develop the provision of out-of-hours services to Finnish citizens. “The transfer does not show to the citizens in any way.  Their calls will be replied in their familiar languages and assistance will be provided as before.”

“In ERCA, we consider that the agreement will lead to synergies because we intend to pool other services related to international contacts under our Command and Control Centre, too. This will strengthen our role in security-related matters in society,” Martti Kunnasvuori, Director General of ERCA, notes with satisfaction.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and ERCA have longstanding experience of good cooperation in helping Finnish citizens in distress abroad. After the establishment of the Command and Control Centre in ERCA in December 2017, opportunities have been identified for new kinds of organisational solutions and synergies.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and ERCA will provide more detailed information about the changes in the summer.

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