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The use of law and the provision of multilingualism to foster the EIF implementation in Finland

Published on: 13/10/2021 Discussion



How is interoperability concretely fostered in the frame of this concrete example/good practice?

A good practice identified in Finland relates to the implementation of Principle 9 on multilingualism. Over the past decade, Finland experienced a particularly sustained increase in the provision of public services in foreign languages besides the two national ones (i.e. Finnish and Swedish). However, while the law requires public services to be provided in both national languages, there is no similar legal obligation to provide public services in additional languages. In fact, such increase is explained by the rising number of speakers of non-national languages using national public services and cross-border services. This situation has led most central government authorities and large cities to provide their services in English as well as, less frequently, in additional languages. For example, it is possible to consult the Finnish Taxation Authority and submit a fiscal declaration in English, as well as in Polish, Russian, and Chinese, among others.

What are the measures put in place to ensure compliance with the EIF?

Finland leverages law as an enforcement tool to implement the recommendations of Principle 1. Over the past few years, the Finnish government has adopted new legislation that implements several of the EIF components, in order to address Recommendation 1: “Ensure that national interoperability frameworks and interoperability strategies are aligned with the EIF and, if needed, tailor and extend them to address the national context and needs”. Therefore, legislation has been reaffirmed as the most effective tool to foster interoperability at the national and sectorial levels. In addition, a New Public Government Strategy was published in 2020 that also highlights some of the interoperability principles of the EIF, such as user centricity (Principle 6) through the implementation of policies ensuring that services are organised in a user centric and diverse way.

What challenges emerged during the implementation of this concrete example/good practice? How did you overcome them?

Regarding the implementation of the Principle 9, several challenges are associated with providing public services in multiple languages, in particular for small municipalities, i.e. with less than 2000 inhabitants. These challenges include the cost of maintaining websites in different languages, in terms of capacity, skills and time, and the direct translations of the public information displayed on these websites appear not to be as useful as expected for foreigners and would require some broader tailoring or explanation.


Main takeaways 

What are the success factors of this concrete example/good practice?

One key success factor is that legislation has been reaffirmed as the most effective tool to foster interoperability at the national and sectorial levels.


Related solution(s)


What solutions are used and deployed in the concrete example/good practice? 

The translation of public services in English or in some other foreign languages (in addition to national official languages).


Relevant related websites and documentation

For further information, you could consult:

Contact information

Finnish Tax Administration: Mr Jukka Kyhäräinen ( or Mrs Johanna Kotipelto (

Social Security Institute: Mrs Niina Nissilä (CIO, or Mr Janne Pulkkinen ( )

Digital & Population Data Agency: Mr Timo Salovaara (