Political principles of the Centre Party of Finland. Approved at the Sotkamo party meeting on 10 June 2018.
MOVING FORWARD WITH ASSURED BALANCE
The 101 political principles of the Centre Party
For the reader
The Centre Party of Finland is a unique national movement strongly rooted in Finnish ideology.
Centre Party politics are not a lukewarm, middle-of-the-road option between extremes. The Centre Party is an independent force driven by strengths and emphases that others do not embody. These include, for example, a sustainable partnership between humankind and nature, a powerful emphasis on democracy, the recognition of the strengths of a decentralised society, spiritual and human values that stand up against materialism, and the strengthening of one's internal growth as a definition of civilisation.
Throughout its more than 110 years of history, the Centre Party has laid out the political principles that define the purpose of the party’s existence. Its primary task is to assess social changes and its ideology in light of our time and to create guidelines for the party on the basis of these assessments. The word principle refers to something fundamental, unrelenting and firm – an unwavering position. If one further delves into the meaning of the word, it could be seen as referring to an ultimate cause.
Our ideology is the shared force that drives us. The ideology should be discussed, challenged and debated. Not all opinions need be the same. A party may, of course, think that it only acts through law amendments and bangs of a council’s gavel. In these moments, however, the party forgets its deeper calling, the significance of discussion and congregation. The Centre Party is a community, a national civil movement, characterised by more unitive than divisive values.
The vitality of the political movement is as great as the number of people who trust in its mission and are working to see it succeed and reform.
The party is a cause, a policy and a message. It is also a notion, a tone and a fleeting feeling: I relate to these people, I can belong to this group, I want to support this policy.
The Centre Party has been its most relevant and successful when its words and deeds have been in harmony. It is in vain to lay down noble principles if there is no intention of backing them with actions. It is also wise to remember that one can be right all alone, but it is only through compromise and collaboration that anything can be achieved.
In moderation and balance
The Centre Party has a calling. The Finnish people need an option that falls between the Right and the Left. The party’s name was not chosen by chance. There is no shame in understanding different viewpoints at a time when all too many are drawing extreme boundaries between people, issues and nations.
Why has our policy been entitled ‘Moving Forward with Assured Balance’? Our previous political principles in 2006 placed an emphasis on the value of moderation. Its significance remains vital during this era of dwindling natural resources and concentrating wealth. The primary challenge of the 2020s will be maintaining a balance that walks hand-in-hand with moderation.
Within these 101 principles – as many as the number of years of our independent nation in 2018 – we state the many ways in which balance defines our era; in terms of the balance between people, countries and cultures, between people and the environment and between free time and work. At its core, we are talking about economical, ecological and social balance.
A meaningful life
When one considers the story of the Centre Party, one realises that the special characteristics of our cause need even further reinforcing in this new age.
As Finns, we largely share the same values, when expressed in terms of individual words and headings. It is essential to be able to articulate what the Centre Party can add, in terms of content, to these defined values:
- Responsibility and freedom
- Community and caring
- Equality and justice
- Cross-generational approach and fairness
- Sustainable relationship with nature
It is equally as important to define the principles and the actions that we will derive from these values.
Within our programme, we have also made many conscious, conceptual choices. We do not talk about a welfare state; we talk about a welfare society. We do not talk about individuals; we talk about people.
We have sought political principles that would create a solid basis with which to respond to the changes and more significant movements of the future. For example, the changing working life, climate change and dwindling natural resources, the ageing population in Finland, global immigration and the technological upheaval affecting everything force us to find solutions where simply scratching the surface will not be enough.
We are facing many inevitable reforms, the success of which will be comprehensively measured in terms of how well we reinforce balance. And reform we must. It is more honourable for the generation currently in power to solve the challenges we foresee rather than simply stating, a few decades later, that we did recognise the problems but lacked the courage to do anything about them.
Our programme does not, in any respect, claim that things used to be better. We do not fear the future nor are we seeking to drum up worries. Despite many aspects of uncertainty, the tomorrow we describe is one filled with light and hope. We are endeavouring to create a Finland in which everyone can sleep peacefully at night and where hope always overrides fear. We also want to strengthen Finland’s role as an active contributor to global issues.
These 101 political principles are a cry for all of us to work together in an age of overwhelming individualism. The paramount issue is not the party, the system or the economy. At their best, they all serve as methods and tools. The core of our programme is the intrinsic value of a human being, on their own and in their community, a good life and its prerequisites for the people of the future.
In which I can trust
1. The most important cornerstone of society is mutual trust. We need to strengthen our understanding of one another and our capacity for co-operation.
2. We trust in humanity. We trust in each person’s ability to develop themselves and to act as citizens for the common good. Systems and markets do not generate good people, but rather civilised people create a better society.
3. Fairness is the core of a constitutional state and welfare society.
4. We must all engage in open discourse about right and wrong in order for us to truly understand how we should be treating one another. We need continued education and cultural learning to prevent distrust and fears from turning into hatred.
5. We advocate comprehensive democracy and parliamentarism. Decisions are driven by the majority, but the minority must not be suppressed. We respect those who bear the responsibility as decision-makers. They need to see reality clearly and, at the same time, to generate hope in the future.
6. Within a society built on trust, the decision-making process is open and transparent. Democracy means shared civics, discourse and listening for and from everyone. The ability to assess information constructively and also critically is emphasised in this age of many truths and uncertainties.
7. The Finnish approach involves a search for reconciliation within politics and the labour market. We foster this concept, while also combining different goals in a spirit of moderation.
8. Freedom of speech is non-negotiable. Each speaker assumes responsibility for their own words.
In which I bear responsibility
9. We support the possibility for everyone to realise their own humanity in a spirit of responsible freedom. In a successful society, freedom is reciprocal. Freedom and responsibility are part of our daily choices.
10. Every person has an obligation, to the extent that their resources allow, to bear responsibility for themselves and those around them. It is within our local communities that we generate a sense of caring and concern. Society’s mission is to create conditions for a good life and to keep us safe in moments of distress.
11. Within a stable and just society, each citizen feels important. We want everyone to have the opportunity to play a role in building our Finnish state.
12. The chain of generations is a chain of responsibility. Generations look after one another: parents care for their children and the younger generations eventually care for their parents. It is precisely this type of nurturing accountability that we wish to see continue.
13. The responsibility for tomorrow begins here and now. It is our job to safeguard a good life for future generations. We want our grandchildren to have the opportunity to live in a stable world and a clean environment.
14. We require that everyone living in Finland complies with the laws and rules of our society.
15. At its core, voluntary work is always about caring for those around you. We want to ensure a solid framework for civil involvement that allows good ideas and deeds to flourish.
In which I can love and be loved
16. All people are equal and must be equally respected. Our unwavering principle is that every person is valuable.
17. Charity and compassion mean being respectful and considerate to your fellow human beings. Finland should be a nation in which people speak to one another with kindness.
18. We have no tolerance for discrimination, racism, hate speech and bullying.
19. We support each person’s wishes for a family of any size. We respect the diversity of families.
20. Parenthood, caring for loved ones and work all have their place in creating a happy life. We support the balance between family and work with the right attitude and necessary structures.
21. We support responsible parenthood, adulthood and a strong presence in the life of children. Parents should have an equal opportunity to be with their children and take part in family life.
22. Children have their own established rights. Among them, the greatest are the right to a safe childhood and the right to play. Children must be cared for, encouraged and heard.
23. A young person who has gone astray needs our support and meaning in their life. Hobbies, support and trust can help to change one’s direction.
24. Any two people are equal and have the freedom to love one another.
25. Every person has the right to a dignified life and a dignified death.
26. Our gross domestic product is not a measure of happiness. The success of the nation and the impact of decisions are also measured by the level of mental and social well-being and the state of the environment.
In which I understand the limitations of our natural resources
27. Humanity will decide the future of our world. Sustainable development is a cross-generational necessity. We will make sustainable choices easy and lucrative.
28. Carbon is burning and ice caps are melting. Climate change is a crucial question for our survival, a concrete threat to humanity and our living environment. Thus, it is our obligation to combat climate change as a society and by means of international agreements.
29. Finland’s power rests in its flowing waters, rustling forests and land touched by frost. Combined with ingenuity and responsibility, they serve to safeguard our prosperity. Our ability to resolve issues with a pragmatic approach also serves to benefit the future of our shared environment, even beyond our own borders.
30. A good society thrives on renewable natural resources. This is bioeconomy. We save, recycle and put our technology to work for the benefit of our environment. A wise person values nature and works with it as a partner.
31. Farmers are engines of sustainability. Sustainable agriculture leaves the land in a better state, year after year, for future generations. We promote and favour domestic foods. We value their producers and consumers. We encourage the production and use of environmentally-friendly goods.
32. Everyone should have the possibility to enjoy the greenery around them and to be able to gather bilberries in the forest. We want parks and forests to be close within our cities as well. The built environment should also support people’s well-being and health.
33. Ensuring the sufficiency of clean air, water and food must be a shared responsibility. The water on Earth is a shared resource, without which there would be no life.
34. Animals have the right to live a good life. 35. We need intense discourse about ethical boundaries at a time when the possibilities offered by technology and medicine are nearly limitless. This development also generates hope that solutions can be found for those issues that feel daunting for us at the moment.
In which I belong
36. We are patriotic. For us, patriotism means a healthy pride in our country, our roots, our languages and our cultures. We must redefine our understanding of what it means to be Finnish. We promote the benefits of Finland and its people through co-operation with other nations, building peace and harmony.
37. Our villages, districts and municipalities are important to us. The concept of selfhood also leaves room for the idea that a person can belong to many places and can be proud of all their roots. Multi-locality serves as a source of vitality and creativity for the entire country.
38. Finland is found in both its countryside and its cities. We endeavour to reinforce the collaboration and partnership between these areas. It’s time to shake hands.
39. We support a decentralised society. One must have the right to establish a home as easily in the south as in the north, and in the west as in the east. We want to guarantee the conditions for a good life and local services throughout Finland.
40. Our capital city of Helsinki is a matter of pride for us. We generate the conditions to ensure that it and the entire metropolitan region can endure and hold its own among the other metropolises of Europe and the world.
41. We ensure that our minorities are treated equally and their rights are respected. We recognise and protect the position of Swedish as our country’s other official language. We promote the realisation of linguistic and cultural rights for our indigenous population, the Sámi people.
42. We are building a bridge between those who were born in Finland and those who have moved here from elsewhere. Multiculturalism is an integral aspect of being Finnish. Those who have moved to our country need caring communities and opportunities to study, to work and to contribute to the building of our society.
43. We are living longer than ever before. This is changing the structures of our society. Being a pensioner is no longer synonymous with being old. A four-generation Finland is an immeasurable resource for the exchange of experiences and knowledge.
44. A life lived alone is as valuable as a life shared. Living alone is either one’s own choice or a situation brought on by life. The balanced life of an independent person also includes an experience of participation and a reasonable livelihood.
45. People need one another, but they also need peace and quiet. We endeavour to create a society where our calendars have empty spaces that allow us time to ourselves and time to reflect.
46. We acknowledge the Christian roots of our society and value them. Everyone should have the freedom to state and practice their own religion or worldview in keeping with the laws and common practices in Finland.
47. Virtual communities play their part in the world of discourse, influence and new means of experience. Amidst the good within the online reality, there are also grey and grim zones. Legal compliance and responsibility for one’s actions must also apply online.
In which I have the curiosity to create anew
48. Education and civilisation are the keys to a good life. Each of us has the unlimited ability to grow as a person and as a citizen, to break our own internal chains. Freedom also includes freedom for self-fulfilment and life-long learning.
49. We safeguard the possibility for everyone to get an education regardless of the thickness of their wallets or the location of their home. Access to education that corresponds to current and future needs is a person’s most vital capital, from early education to higher education. A good education corresponds to the needs of working life and strengthens society at large.
50. Art allows us to experience something new and enlightening. It is the duty of society to ensure artistic freedom and the means to produce art. Everyone should have the possibility to enjoy culture as they see fit.
51. Science has intrinsic value. It helps us to understand what is happening in life and all around us. Science is also the key to problem-solving and the sustainable development of our society.
52. We are changing our world through great technological strides and using them to create something new. Many issues are becoming easier. We remember, however, the difference between a tool and life itself. People are still in control of making decisions regarding their own goals.
53. “That’s a good idea, let’s develop that further together.” This is the type of approach that Finland needs. Research, test and keep what is good – that is another foundation for advancement.
54. There are other ways to do things. We want increased open-mindedness and creativity in the schools, workplaces and hobbies. We dare to renew and relinquish the old, when necessary. We listen, promote participation and encourage each person to find their own strengths.
55. Sometimes what is new can be frightening. And we all have resistance to change within us. The role of trailblazer is not easy. One must be able to patiently explain the reasons for changes and innovation.
56. There must always be a possibility to start afresh. One has got to be able to fail without being permanently scarred by the experience.
In which I have opportunity
57. Everyone has the right to strive for something greater and achieve their dreams. Society is at its best when it offers the foundations and infrastructure to support people’s choices, motivation and growth into independent, individual personalities.
58. Finland needs both book smarts and handicraft skills. Everyone should have the possibility to learn in their own way and at their own pace.
59. Work is a right, work is a responsibility. Work has value in itself, but it does not define a person’s worth.
60. The doors to working life must be open to everyone. Those recovering from illnesses, those with a reduced work ability and those who are disabled also have the right to work. It is society’s duty to help people to find work, particularly when faced with difficulties.
61. Exercise and rewarding hobbies increase our positive resources and well-being. Every person deserves the possibility to participate in recreational activities of their choosing.
62. Gender equality is a deeply engrained value in our society. We want to strengthen it further through our own words and actions every day. Attitudes that spur gender compartmentalisation must be broken down.
63. Data is transferred and buses are moving. This is a functional prerequisite for work, entrepreneurship and recreation. We make sure that people, goods and information move freely throughout Finland.
In which I can also be weak
64. We have an absolute responsibility for those around us. A society of the strong is, at its core, simply a society that is blind to its responsibilities.
65. Any one of us might suddenly lose everything. This obliges us, as a society, to ensure that no one is left to fend for themselves. Intervening in another person’s life can sometimes be the greatest act of compassion.
66. We are sufficient even when we are incomplete. We want to see a Finland where human value is not decided based on top performances. It’s more important to strive to improve yourself than to achieve goals set by others.
67. The most important person is not the one who shouts the loudest. It takes a special sensitivity to hear those who now remain silent. It is everyone’s shared duty to oversee the participation and well-being of those who are frail and vulnerable.
68. We are the agents of our own lives. No one should become simply the object of measures and benefits. We want to hear people’s views on issues that concern them and to respect their right of self-determination.
69. Our happiness is shadowed by increasing loneliness, mental health issues and diseases of affluence. Too many are lacking an education that would guarantee them employment. For this reason, our social security system and services need to undergo a revolution based on human needs. Help must always be available.
70. We want to root out all obstacles so that those who are in the profession of helping others are allowed to focus on the human encounters involved in their work. Caring and compassion are the most vital professional skills.
71. Within the global economy, everyone cannot be a winner. We have a shared obligation to look after those who fall to the wayside – both at home and abroad. The world economy needs a boost of fairness.
In which I could do well
72. Well-being is a target, the economy is a tool. Participatory growth facilitates work and entrepreneurship. It increases well-being and involves everyone in the process of growth.
73. We need environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth. At its best, this means renewal in the form of inventions, new products and services. Even within the economy, less can sometimes result in more.
74. A market-based economy where competition works calls for fair play rules and a social framework created through legislation.
75. We also need the state to act as a patient, risk-bearing investor and goal-directed owner. State enterprises must be efficiently managed in a manner that is in keeping with the social task assigned to them.
76. Entrepreneurship is work and the generation of something new. It enables a person to express themselves while also serving others. The existence of a company is always grounded on strong values, the fulfilment of customers’ needs and the desire to work. The entrepreneur bears the risk, provides employment and generates well-being within the surrounding society.
77. Each person has the right to own, to succeed and to strive for better. Ownership increases an understanding of and responsibility for the economy. We oppose a society of envy and spite. We demand the realisation of moderation both in the implementation of reward systems and in other economic activities.
78. Money does not guarantee happiness, but financial security frees people to develop themselves and to take actions for the benefits of others. We want to guarantee a supportive subsistence for everyone based on the idea of a universal basic income system.
79. Vocations come and go. Work is becoming fragmented, wages often come in pieces and the actual work is not always bound to a specific place or set time. Our aim is to achieve a working life in which the employee and employer are healthy and satisfied, trusting of one another and willing to make agreements for shared benefit. We want to create a fair and flexible framework that also supports the self-employed.
80. Home is always as important, whether it’s a red cottage or a two-room flat. Everyone must have the possibility to live in a manner that meets with their wishes and life situation, at an affordable price. No one’s life should only revolve around being able to make their mortgage or rent payments.
81. The new rise of regional politics is based on the provinces. The provinces understand their resources, focus on their strengths and combine their private, public and third sector expertise for the benefit of their residents. Municipalities are communities of people that guarantee the realisation of local vitality and democracy.
82. Artificial intelligence, digitalisation, robotics and platform and sharing economy; they are part of our lives. This development requires common rules, both on the national and international level.
83. New technologies and operational methods should serve humankind and its developmental needs, including those who do not have the ability or possibility to take advantage of such technologies.
84. Money and capital move across borders, sometimes even to tax havens. For this reason, we demand that economic actors execute their duties in a socially responsible, open and transparent manner that is governed, when necessary, by international agreements and regulations.
85. We support freedom of business, not freedom to speculate. Instead of fast results, we favour the pursuit of sustainable profits.
86. Trade unifies nations and secures peace. It is a means of increasing our exports. It is also a means of improving the world, one piece at a time. We want to help disadvantaged countries by bolstering their business activities, improving the fair division of the fruits of economic success and supporting their ability to stand on their own.
In which I feel safe
87. A true sense of security is born from the ability to control one’s own life. We want to prevent marginalisation, criminal activity and unnecessary dangers within our living environment.
88. Every person has the right to a safe home. Violence must be condemned, both near and far.
89. Peace is our shared aim for each and every day. Not its opposites of dissonance, fear, the breakdown of society, crises and war.
90. The primary duty of our foreign and security policies is to ensure Finland’s independence and national safety.
91. Finland’s solution will not be to simply curl up and build fences. We are reinforcing trust and security through international dialogue and co-operation.
92. Solid relationships with all our neighbouring countries and increased stability within the Baltic Sea and Artic regions form the core of our national security. Finland’s most natural community is that of the Nordic Countries, a band of resilient Northern nations. We maintain an active co-operative relationship with Russia through state, economic and civil interactions.
93. An independent Finland is part of a Europe formed by independent states, with all its strengths and fragility. We want to renew the European Union. It should be big in big things and small in small things. The Union’s original purpose, an undertaking to ensure peace, remains its key duty, both today and in the future.
94. Finland must maintain discretionary authority as regards solutions for military security. An independent nation does not limit its latitude in any direction.
95. The desire for national defence remains high, as people consider Finland worth defending. Every Finnish citizen is a defender of our nation. We need our own credible defence capability and universal military service as well as a civil service obligation that concerns everyone.
96. Food, water, energy, care and societal security must be guaranteed for everyone, even in times of crisis. Security of supply and adequate self-sufficiency are an essential aspect of our nation’s life insurance. Finland is having to further strengthen its readiness for cyberattacks and new types of threats.
97. Personal information is a valuable property that we must protect and be able to supervise. We want to turn safe online activities into a civil skill.
98. We need religious and cultural literacy, the ability to understand also that which is strange and unknown to us. The dialogue between different views and actors dissipates fears and prevents the development of extremism. It also builds a foundation for a safe and just world.
99. People outside our country’s borders are also our neighbours. We can combat environmental migration with effective international collaboration and shared responsibility. People who have been forced to flee their own countries must be treated with humanity and their human rights must be assured.
100. In order to find solutions to combat poverty, cross-border crime and other global problems, we need common rules and the commitment of all other nations. We want to support UN and EU-type communities, in which human rights, a constitutional state and the principles of sustainable development serve as the foundation of all their activities and functions.
101. Great things cannot be achieved unless we are aware first of what is essential and good. If we want things to change, we must be ready to assume our own role as an agent of change.
The party should be like a sauna, where everyone gathers together, as equals, for the same purpose. Life has moulded us into different people, but we are all the same as the steam of the stove engulfs us. Our bodies take in the heat. One revels in the silence, another tells a story. Everyone feels that this is a good place to be, focused on the fundamentals. I am sufficient just the way I am.
In the steam, it’s enough just to be human. This is how we should approach life and the issues within the Centre Party movement, with the door slightly ajar to allow in fresh air and new faces.
And our sauna must also have a window that enables us to see the clear landscape and sparkling waters beyond.