According to the Finnish Constitution, the municipalities serve a dual function. Firstly, they function as the basic regional administrative unit and, secondly, as the basic units of the citizens' self-government. The municipalities have a long tradition of self-government, and the municipal system provides an important arena for political participation. In addition, the municipalities play a central role in society through their organizing the major portion of welfare services.

The basic elements of local self-government are the right of taxation, the principle through which the central government can assign tasks and responsibilities to local authorities only on the basis of legislation and, finally, the general municipal mandate, under which local authorities can choose to undertake tasks that are not specifically defined by legislation.

City Council

The City Council is elected in local elections held every four years. The 59 members of the current council have been elected for the period 2017–2021. The Council is the highest decision-making organ of the city and makes decisions concerning the economy and finances: the tax rate, basis of payments in general, loans and guarantees. It also decides on the constitution of municipal committees and appoints major municipal officeholders.

Council meetings are public and are held in the theatre at City Hall about once a month. The agendas for upcoming meetings and the minutes of previous meetings are published here (linkki pöytäkirjoihin).

The current chairpersons of the City Council are:
Mr Juha Mustonen (Centre Party)
Mrs Merja Mäkisalo-Ropponen (Social Democratic Party)
Mr Arto Pippuri (Coalition Party)

The political distribution of council seats is as follows:

Party Seats
Social Democratic Party 15
Centre Party 12
Coalition Party 9
The Finns 5
Greens 9
Union of the Left 6
Christian Democratic Party 3


City Board

The City Board is responsible for municipal administration and economy, preparation of matters to be decided by the City Council, and ensuring that decisions made by the Council are implemented in accordance with the law. The City Board represents the municipality: it uses the right to speak and performs various judicial actions on behalf of the city.

The City Board of Joensuu meets almost every Monday afternoon. It has eleven members, each with a personal deputy. The Chairperson of the City Council can also attend the meetings. The Mayor prepares and presents the matters to be decided by the City Board. It is not possible for the public to attend meetings of the board – the minutes of the meeting are, however, available here (linkki valtuuston pöytäkirjoihin) immediately after the meeting.

The chairpersons of the City Board are as follows:
Chairperson:  Mr Seppo Eskelinen(Social Democratic Party)
Deputy:  Mr Markku Kauppinen (Centre Party)
Deputy:  Mrs Hannele Autti (Greens)

Committees and Sections

The municipal committees and sections have chiefly been selected by the City Council and are concerned with particular areas of local services. The City of Joensuu has, for instance, committees on education, culture, sports and youth, technical services and health care and social services.

Meetings of committees and sections are not open to the public, but the minutes of their meetings are available here. (linkki pöytäkirjoihin)

Agendas and Protocols of the meetings (in Finnish)

The Mayor

Kari Karjalainen has been Mayor of Joensuu since 2010.

Kari Karjalainen took office in autumn 2010. He is originally from Nurmes and completed his studies in Engineering at Tampere Technical University. Prior to coming to Joensuu he served as Mayor of the town of Raisio.

In his spare time Karjalainen is active in sports, cross-country skiing in particular. The mayor is interested in all forms of culture. His favorite reading is Finnish fiction and he also prefers to listen to rock music geared to his age group. Born in 1957, Karjalainen is married with four children.

Joensuu Immigration Services

Siltakatu 10 A 13, 5th floor
80100 Joensuu

Map link

E-mail: maahanmuuttajapalvelut
Telephone: +358 13 337 0333

Contact information

Hanna Kärkkäinen
Integration adviser
Tel. +358 50 598 3475

Taru Väisänen
Integration adviser
Tel. +358 50 310 1043

Sanna Raetsaari
Integration adviser
Tel. +358 50 475 7210

Silja Holm
Integration adviser
Tel. +358 50 471 3215

Nella Niemi
Integration adviser
Tel. +358 50 512 2789

Tarja Munne (out of office)