Verkkouutiset reports that according to a European Policy Centre (EPC) study: « Finland in the European Union: Frontrunner or follower », Finland is only average in European affairs. Finland makes positive statements about, for example, the internal market but then holds on to many blocks to the free mobility of goods, services, capital, and labour, says senior policy analyst Annika Hedberg.
Finland ranks well in terms of the digital internal market, digital skills, public services, and mobile networks. EPC researcher Paul Ivan said that Finland should intensify its defence and security co-operation with Europe. However, the problem is that, according to Ivan, Finland is not of interest to other EU countries. Finland follows Germany’s defense policy, but Germany does not see Finland as a strategic partner.
Iltalehti has reported that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini will meet the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on 15 November. They will discuss i.a. the transatlantic cooperation, European security, response to hybrid threats and other topical issues.
Mr Soini will also meet members of the Congress and discuss with representatives of think tanks. According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, the discussions highlight the impact of the interim on US policy, relations between the European Union and the United States, and the future of the statutory system.
Journalist: Antti Pajamo
Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö commented on the recent climate report by IPCC in a climate conference in Rovaniemi. The President pointed out that everyone in the world is in the same boat. If the temperature rises more than 1.5 celcius degrees, it will make life difficult.
He pointed out that the arctic region is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world, and if we lose it, we will lose the world.
The President said that he has noticed that there is increasing will among countries to start working against climate change. For example, few countries ignored the topic at the UN summit in New York and particularly the French President Emmanuel Macron actively brought up the topic in discussions.
Finland is to invest EUR 1.54 million in climate projects in Africa. The funding is used to support the development of climate projects particularly in the poorest countries. The money can be used, for example, for the research on wave power utilisation or storing electricity, or to develop completely new earning models.
The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen says in a press release that more than a billion people do not have electricity. Whether they get their electricity from fossil fuels or renewable sources makes a difference.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini visited Finland on Wednesday and met with Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, among others. According to Ms Mogherini, Finland’s presidency of the Council of the EU will be exceptionally important, as we are living in a time of change within Europe. She said that during that time, the EU will need leadership, which Finland will certainly show.
Mr Sipilä defined some of the main challenges as the European Parliament elections, forming the new European Commission and Brexit negotiations. Also the budget framework will require a great amount of work.
According to Helsingin Sanomat, the preparations for the Arctic Council Summit, in which Presidents Putin and Trump might also take part, are well on their way. The planners are already planning on possible dates in spring 2019.
President Sauli Niinistö commented on the summit, saying that the United States seems to have become more interested in it. He said that things have advanced towards a better direction, surprisingly. He says that if the summit participants will be from the higher level, the participants will determine the date of the summit.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland has warned the Finnish business life of a hard Brexit. Terhi Bunders, a Brexit contact person at the Ministry, says that they aim to raise awareness of all alternatives.
Jussi Mustonen of Confederation of Finnish Industries EK points out that the impact of soft Brexit on Finland’s gross domestic product is approximately 0.1-0.2% while in a hard Brexit, the GDP could be cut by 0.3%. According to Mr Mustonen, it would not make Finland fall, but it is awkward and harmful to Finland’s economy.
Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö spoke at the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Supreme Court about his concern over the devaluation of international agreements in international politics. According to Mr Niinistö, it seems that in geopolitics power and strength are what counts today.
He said that by questioning international agreements, some aim to change the current world order. Ignoring common agreements has never led to anything good. According to President Niinistö, the United Nations and its member states must express their will to collaborate.
Main source: President Sauli Niinistö