The Ministry of Transport and Communications is responsible for two broad sectors: transport policy and communications policy.
The mission of transport policy is to provide people with
opportunities for safe and smooth everyday travel, to maintain the
competitiveness of businesses and to mitigate climate change by
reducing emissions. Finland’s location far from the main transport
and logistic arteries of central Europe poses major challenges. The
needs and viewpoints of a range of groups must be taken into
account in the development of the transport system. The Ministry
strives to promote traffic safety and the efficiency of the
transport system through a variety of different measures, including
intelligent transport services.
A significant proportion of today’s public services are delivered by virtue of communications technology. The objective of communications policy is to ensure that all households, businesses and organisations have access to effective and reliable communications networks and services that are reasonably priced and of high-quality. Electronic services must be secure. One of the Ministry's key objectives is to promote the supply of high-speed broadband connections while ensuring that basic services, such as mail delivery, are provided across the country.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications prepares acts, decrees and decisions that are made in Parliament, at Presidential sessions of the Government and in the Government itself. The Ministry also issues ministerial decisions and regulations as well as guidelines and instructions on their implementation.
A significant number of statutes in the field of transport and communications are drafted in the European Union. The Ministry does preparatory work at national level on issues in the area of transport and communications that are being addressed by the EU and monitors their progress. The Ministers represent Finland at meetings of the Council of Transport and Communications Ministers of the European Union while public servants of the Ministry are involved in the preparations by taking part in working group sessions of the Council and the Commission.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications also participates
international work carried out at forums such as the International
Maritime Organization (IMO), the Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the
Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU).
The Ministry of Transport and Communications is actively involved in international cooperation not only with the other countries of the European Union but also with the other Nordic countries and with Russia and the Baltic states. The Ministry’s cooperation with Russia is mainly via the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Information Technology and Communications.
The Ministry’s main responsibilities also include providing
strategic performance guidance in its administrative sector. The
Ministry guides and supervises the operation of its agencies
through setting annual performance targets and monitoring how these
targets are achieved and how appropriations are used. The Ministry
also reviews the progress of agencies in the administrative
sector. The Ministry is also responsible for the ownership steering
of state majority-owned companies in its administrative sector.
The Ministry’s administrative sector covers four agencies and two state majority-owned companies, along with the Finnish Broadcasting Company which is directly supervised by Parliament.
Within its administrative sector, the Ministry deals with budget economy. It prepares spending limits as well as an annual budget proposal and an operating and financial plan. The Ministry also monitors the use of funds allocated to its sector in the state budget and describes their use in its annual report.
The work of the Ministry also includes matters related to licences and state subsidies. These tasks have decreased in recent years, because administration has been lightened and these matters have been transferred to provincial and municipal levels. Licences are granted, for example, for the construction of mobile communications networks and for radio and television broadcasting. By purchasing services the Ministry finances public transport in sparsely populated areas, for example.
The Ministry also takes initiatives and makes proposals concerning the taxation of transport and communications where the responsibility for drafting lies with the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Transport and Communications monitors the functionality of the transport and communications system and promotes balanced development of the transport and communications sectors. This work is supported by research and development.
The Ministry actively disseminates information on decisions and matters that are pending. It aims to foster lively social discussion as well as co-operation with the transport and communications sectors.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications has two ministers:
the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Housing and
Communications. The highest-ranking permanent official at the
Ministry is the Permanent Secretary.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications employs some 170 people and has three departments: the Transport Policy Department, the Communications Policy Department and the Administration Department which are subdivided into units. The Ministry’s Press and Information Unit, Internal Audit and Controller work directly under the senior management.
The Ministry dates back to 1892, when a transport system committee was set up in the Senate of Finland, then an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian empire. The committee later became the Ministry of Transport and Public Works which was further divided into the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 1970.