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The voice of Finnish employees in Brussels from the beginning of EU membership

The Finnish trade union representation has been based in Brussels since 1995. FinUnions celebrated its anniversary in 2020, when it was 25 years since the office was founded. But as Director Katja Lehto-Komulainen puts it, the EU integration of employees began much earlier.

FinUnions’ directors tell all

In the following blos, FinUnions’ previous directors talk about their time in charge of the office.

Heikki Pohja: Suomen ay-liikkeen eurooppalaisen edunvalvonnan alkutaipaleelta

Ari Åberg: Tiivistyvän edunvalvonnan aikaa 2007–2010

Risto Kousa: Talouskurimuksesta kohti talouskuria

Pekka Ristelä: Sosiaalisen Euroopan käännettä todistamassa

A long tradition of EU cooperation


EU co-operation between wage earners began in the early 1990s, when Finland began negotiations on EU membership. At that time, central organizations of trade unions and several trade unions were already themselves involved in European labour organizations.

The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK had been a member of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) since the 1970s. STTK joined the ETUC in the early 1990s.

At the time, two important guidelines were drawn up in the central organizations: First, it was found that EU lobbying required close cooperation from all organizations. Secondly, it was decided to support Finland’s goal to seek EU membership. In order to promote these two main objectives, a joint EU lobbying office was set up. It initially operated in Finland for a few years, until the unit moved to Brussels in 1995 under the wings of an EU membership.