Ilta-Sanomat writes in a comment that cracks in transatlantic relations inevitably change Europe’s security situation. This is why Finland must stay alert when it comes to the European Union’s defence projects.
Presidents Trump and Putin have room for powerful manoeuvres as the EU is in internal disarray and has lost its voice in world politics. In this sense, it is positive that the EU is becoming more active in defence.
When President Niinistö used to speak of EU defence as an alternative to NATO, many people laughed. Now it is not laughable anymore – EU defence may be the only alternative.
According to President Sauli Niinistö, the dinner of the NATO leaders was a much happier affair than the horror scenarios had been suggesting. Mr Niinistö said he was quite optimistic about the prospects. There was no talk of NATO dissolving, and the discussion actually suggested the opposite.
Mr Niinistö said that President Donald Trump spoke extensively about the relations with North Korea, and otherwise followed the debate closely. Mr Trump did not mention Russia. He also did not tell NATO partners about his expectations regarding his upcoming summit with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, since no one asked him, Mr Niinistö said.
President Sauli Niinistö talked about the NATO summit that began Wednesday. He said the atmosphere at the start of the summit was encouraging.
A common communique has been adopted, which was the purpose of the first meeting. It was unanimously accepted in its original form, including the 4 x 30 principle, Iraqi education, and the important principle for Finland to keep the doors of NATO open. All these have been confirmed, President Niinistö told Finnish journalists in Brussels.
He noted that « kind transatlantic words » have been exchanged.
Ilta-Sanomat has interviewed President Sauli Niinistö on the meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin in Helsinki. Mr Niinistö said the United States and Russia must have a dialogue, but they cannot make decisions concerning Europe between the two of them and without Europe.
There is an increased risk of this happening, as the European Union is not united and strong enough in international politics, he assessed. He says it is necessary and inevitable that the Presidents meet, and hopefully the meeting will ease tensions in the world.
Verkkouutiset summarises a blog entry by Foreign Minister Timo Soini on the electoral success of liberalism in Europe. He says the Anglophone world has shown what lies ahead.
The next European elections are in ten months and Europe is currently confused. Great political changes are possible, he assesses. Liberalism will win only if conservatives are asleep, Mr Soini predicts.
Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini writes in a guest column of Maaseudun Tulevaisuus about the European Union’s common agriculture policy (CAP) and the EU budget. He points out that Finland’s view is that a smaller EU needs to lead to a smaller budget.
However, now the Commission is planning to increase the overall budget but cut the agriculture budget. Mr Soini thinks that CAP needs to be simplified and national subsidies and coordination need to be promoted, but agriculture subsidies cannot be cut.
Securing the profitability of agriculture and Finnish, clean food, are significant themes in the next elections, he concludes.
President Sauli Niinistö will attend the NATO summit in Brussels next week. Mr Niinistö has been invited to a working dinner on Wednesday and a meeting discussing the Afghanistan crisis management operation on Thursday.
In addition to the NATO member countries, the dinner includes Finland, Sweden and the EU. In 2014, Finland and Sweden received an invitation to expanded partnership with NATO.
President Niinistö has been at NATO Summits on a regular basis. He also attended the meeting in Warsaw in 2016, in Wales in 2014 and in Chicago in 2012.
An official United States airplane landed at Turku Airport on Tuesday, prompting speculation that US President Donald Trump might visit Finnish President Sauli Niinistö’s summer residence in Naantali, ahead of the summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday 16 July.
A similar aircraft was spotted at Helsinki Airport on Sunday, but no officials agreed to give a statement on this. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs stated that « flights are coming and going ». According to the information for the media, « the Ministry has no opportunities to track air traffic ».
Journalist: Samuli Salminen