The Government and Politics of the European Union

Seventh edition

by Neill Nugent


Population 5.3 m
Capital Helsinki
Surface area 304,500 km2
Official Languages Finnish and Swedish
Gross domestic product (GDP) (in euros) 141.8 bn
GDP as a % of EU-27, based on 2009 data 1.2
GDP per capita by purchasing power standards (indexed to EU average of 100) 115.1
Currency Euro
Human development index (HDI), an index based on life expectancy, education and GDP (max. 1) 0.952
World rank in HDI 11/177
Key economic sectors Services (64); industry (33); agriculture (4)
Leading Companies Nokia (mobile telephones); Fortum (energy company); Sampo (insurance company)
Unemployment in January 2010 9.0% (source:
Main religious denominations (numbers in thousands) Lutheran (152); Estonian Orthodox Church (144)
Political system The President is elected for six years, and is responsible for foreign affairs ‘in cooperation with the government’. The unicameral parliament is charged with responsibility for domestic and EU affairs. The prime minister is selected by parliament.
Electoral system The president is elected by a two-ballot majoritarian system. Parliament is divided into fifteen sections representing electoral districts, and the number of seats won per section is proportionate to the votes cast per party in those districts.
Current (March 2010) leaders President: Tarja Halonen (b. 1943), since March 2000
Prime minister: Matti Vanhanen (b. 1955), since June 2003
Previous leaders: Presidents: Martti Ahtisaari (1994-2000); Mauno Koivisto (1982-94)
Prime ministers: Anneli Tuulikki Jäätteenmäki (2003); Paavo Lipponen (1995-2003); Esko Aho (1991-95) llas (2002-03)
Joined the EU/EC 1995
Commissioner from country in Barroso II College of Commissioners, and portfolio Olli Rehn (Economic and Monetary Affairs)
Number of MEPs 13/754
Turnout in 2009 EP elections (%) 40.3
Member of eurozone Yes (founder member)

Except where a specific reference is inserted, the sources for this profile are either Neill Nugent’s book itself, or Barry Turner (ed.), The Statesman’s Yearbook Online, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. If your library subscribes, you can gain access at