Exclusive: Could the Finnish educational method be implemented to the Romanian schooling system?

id21-528x330Interview with H.E. Mrs. Paivi POHJANHEIMO, Finland’s Ambassador to Romania.

by: Alina Grigoras Butu

It’s been one year since you came to Bucharest as ambassador. How do you assess the bilateral relations during this one-year period?

I took over the position of the ambassador September last year. The bilateral relations have always been good, but there has been a little bit of distance. This has been obviously due to the geographical distance, but there has not been that much of interaction as there could have been. So, my purpose when I arrived was to reactivate bilateral relations in a variety of sectors.

A lot has happened during this first year, we have received several delegations from different ministries, not only from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for consultations and to establish contacts. For instance, we opened the security policy consultations, as it’s in the interest of both countries to exchange views and assess the security environment in the Baltic Sea and in the Black Sea area. We also had political consultations focused on Eastern issues. Then we had a special delegation from our Ministry of Justice, they spent here a couple of days, and wanted to learn from Romania how it prepared the national strategy on anti-corruption. The reason was that Finland is preparing its first ever national strategy on anti-corruption as well. Then we had a trade delegation, headed by our Deputy Minister for Foreign Trade. There had been a considerable break since the previous trade delegation’s visit. I was quite happy to see various companies representing different sectors establishing contacts and updating their knowledge about what is going on in the Romania’s business environment. It was all very positive. We have of course also focused in the EU agenda and started bilateral exchange on preparing ourselves for the EU-Presidencies in 2019. This bilateral dialogue and cooperation will be active during these forthcoming years.

All in all, during this year we have seen many new bridges built in between our two capitals and countries.

What are the bilateral trade exchanges based on? Could be Romania a more interesting investment destination for the Finnish businessmen in the upcoming future and if so, what are the main sectors of interest?

There are some Finnish companies already active in Romania. However, the interest is on rise thanks to the development during the past years that has brought more transparency and predictability in Romanian business environment. For that reason more companies are encouraged to come to explore the market and perhaps also invest here. Main sectors of interest for the moment seem to be IC&T, forestry, engineering, cleantech and energy and also education and defence.

There have been two specific sectors, education and forestry, where Finland has achieved nice results and is willing to share our lessons learnt. When it comes to education, there are already three private schools established by Romanian professionals in education that have been inspired by the Finnish education system. They are located in Bucharest, Ploiesti and Sibiu. There are other similar projects or ideas in the pipeline in different parts of the country. I have supported these admirable projects attending their events, board meetings and various seminars.

On forestry, perhaps you know that forests are the natural resource of my country and they were Finland’s “green gold” during decades and decades. There are some universities in Finland interested in starting cooperation with their counterpart universities here, and to share their experience on how more sustainable forestry has been possible to achieve in Finland. An important role is the vocational training of professions related with the forests. These universities are not giving advice or saying ‘look, we know how to do it’, but to share experience, lessons learnt that has worked in my country, and cooperate to find the best practices for Romania to benefit from its rich forests.

Speaking about Romania’s rich forests, we are still facing illegal deforestations. What could be the problem, it’s just law that has to be enforced or more it’s needed, the population’s involvement?

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