According to Aamulehti, the major European parties are looking ahead to the European elections. While the Parliament’s biggest groups EPP, S&D and ECR have already appointed Spitzenkandidats, ALDE is taking a different road and waiting until February to appoint a group of Spitzenkandidats.
ALDE is gaining an ally in French President Emmanuel Macron’s Republique en Marche party. This makes Macron a potential kingmaker in ALDE. MEP Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE) said that this is normal cooperation between two parties and ALDE will be an opposing force to the strongly conservative EPP.
Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met in Helsinki last week, reported Verkkouutiset. The two held a broad debate on the development of the European Union and its future challenges.
The leaders also discussed Finland’s priorities for the Commission’s forthcoming five-year program and Finland’s forthcoming EU Presidency. The issues of the EU’s response to migration and international trade and the development of the EU’s internal market were raised too.
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.
Vice President of the European Investment Bank Alexander Stubb has signed up for the race over the European People’s Party Spitzenkandidat and European Commission Presidency in the next European Elections. He said that he signed up for the race because of concern and love for Europe and concern and love for the world and world politics.
He thinks that liberalism is facing an attack, and Europe needs to defend its values, international law and system as well as facts. What comes to the technological revolution, he thinks that Europe needs to take measures through rules and legislation.
An editorial in Keskisuomalainen discusses the Swedish government negotiations, which are expected to be long and difficult. Security policy was not an important issue in elections. Sweden’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Finland is unlikely to change even if the parties in the bloc support Sweden’s ascension into NATO.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini (Blue Reform) believes that Finland and Sweden will continue to develop and intensify their relations because of the strategic interest they share.
Even the Sweden Democrats, who clash with other parties on many other issues, would like to deepen the defence cooperation between Sweden and Finland.
Yle reports that the Social Democrats, Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party are set to propose a motion of no-confidence in Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue Reform) when Parliament meets to consider the government’s budget proposal. The exact timing has not been confirmed.
The SDP parliamentary group leader Antti Lindtman has said that if a majority of legislators back the no-confidence motion, Mr Soini must resign. “In a world where women’s rights are increasingly challenged, it’s not right that Finland’s Foreign Minister is at odds with Finland’s official foreign policy,” said Mr Lindtman. He hopes that women in the government parties, National Coalition in particular, will back the vote.
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.