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Introduction: Finland was a province and then a grand duchy under Sweden from the 12th to the 19th centuries, and an autonomous grand duchy of Russia after 1809. It won its complete independence in 1917. During World War II, it was able to successfully defend its freedom and resist invasions by the Soviet Union - albeit with some loss of territory. In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a farm/forest economy to a diversified modern industrial economy; per capita income is now among the highest in Western Europe. A member of the European Union since 1995, Finland was the only Nordic state to join the euro system at...

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Economic Overview: Finland has experienced a downturn in its economy, as the effects of the global financial and economic crisis hurt its export markets and industrial output. GDP diminished by 8.2 per cent in 2009, however bounced back to increase by 3.1 per cent in 2010 and is predicted to expand by 3.1 per cent in 2011. Unemployment was at 9.8 per cent in May 2011, slightly down from 2010. Inflation at 3.3 per cent in 2011. Finland has few natural energy resources. The Finnish Parliament has approved the construction of three new nuclear reactors (Finland currently has four reactors) in order to meet increasing energy demand and reduce carbon emissions. ...

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Government and Political Conditions: Finland has a mixed presidential/parliamentary system with executive powers divided between the president, who has primary responsibility for national security and foreign affairs, and the prime minister, who has primary responsibility for all other areas, including European Union (EU) issues. Under the constitution that took effect in March 2000, the established practice for managing foreign ...

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International Relations: Relations with Neighbours

Co-operation with the other Nordic countries is important to Finland, and it has been a member of the Nordic Council since 1955. Under the council's auspices, the Nordic countries have created a common labour market and have abolished immigration controls among themselves. The council also serves to co-ordinate social and cultural policies of the participating countries and has promoted increased co-operation in many fields.

Finland also focuses on the Baltics where historical and cultural links are also strong. Since the Baltic States regained their independence, Finland has ...

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Present-day Finland became habitable in about 8,000 B.C., following the northward retreat of the glaciers, and at about that time Neolithic peoples migrated into the country. According to the legends found in the Finnish folk epic, the Kalevala, those early inhabitants included the people of the mythical land Pohjola, against whom the Kalevala people -- identified with the Finns -- struggled; ...

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Area Handbook Series
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