Dates: 17 – 20 September 2009 Place: Helsinki
FOCIR organised a study visit to Finland in order to discover more about which coordinated spaces between civil society and the government exist when it comes to foreign policy. For 4 days, the Catalan delegation held meetings with Finnish organisations and different departments in the Finnish government.
The cooperation between the civil society and the government in Finland is currently formalised by youth associations, including the Finnish Foreign Policy Youth Forum which is a coordinated space between the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and youth associations. Given that other Finnish associations are also actively involved in and maintain close relationships and contact with different institutions in the country, the reason behind the visit was for the Catalan delegation to discover how the Finnish associations view the current situation with regards to the different connections and models of coordination. The main goal was to see how the Finnish model could be applied to Catalonia and how mechanisms for consultation and coordination between the government and organisations from all of civil society could be developed.
Several applications were received, but the final Catalan delegation consisted of six people: Marc Cases, International Manager of ESPLAC (Esplais Catalans), Joan Francesc Gras, Patron of the PuntCAT Foundation, Meritxell Montserrat, Member of the Board of the SCIC (Secretariat de Corals Infantils de Catalunya), Mariana Gavris, of the Xarxa Europea de Serveis Civils de Pau, Mònica Sabata, President of FOCIR and Eulàlia Pascual, Spokesperson for the Board of FOCIR and President of the Grup de Juristes Roda Ventura.