President of Finland to the Nordic Council: A renaissance for co-operation

02.11.22 | News
Finlands president Sauli Niinistö på sessionen 2022.

Finlands president Sauli Niinistö

Johannes Jansson
Defence and security was a key theme in Finnish President, Sauli Niinistö’s speech before the Nordic Council on 1 November. However, the President also addressed other topics, highlighting the idea of strengthening the Nordic Region as a brand, for example.

The President was an invited guest speaker at the Session of the Nordic Council in Helsinki. His speech was characterised by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the changed security situation.

“These difficult times have brought the Nordic Region together in ways we’ve never seen before. The level of contact between the Nordic countries has been intense,” the President said.

After his speech, the President answered questions from members of the Nordic Council. The questions were also largely about the changed security situation.

For example, Angelika Bengtsson from the Nordic Freedom Group asked what the Nordic countries can do together to prevent the war in Ukraine from spreading to our countries.

“I think that what we’re doing today demonstrates our determination and unity,” answered President Niinistö, adding his emphasis to ‘determination’.

Jouni Ovaska from the Centre Group asked what the Nordic countries can do together, and not just as individual countries, for transatlantic relations.

“Together with the other Nordic countries, we made a joint trip to the US in 2016. It raised the idea that we should naturally be polite and invite the US here as our guests. Finland is certainly prepared to do this, as are the other Nordic countries,” said President Niinistö.

Perfect co-operation

The president stressed that Nordic co-operation works almost perfectly, and spoke of a renaissance for co-operation.

“I hope that we take advantage of this opportunity – the renaissance of Nordic co-operation – so that we strengthen what we have and also embark on something new. Even perfection can be improved upon,” said the President.

He also highlighted the Nordic Region as a brand and said that the Nordic countries are, in many ways, seen as ideal societies in an international context. President Niinistö mentioned that the Nordic Region is known for strong democracies, equality, and welfare and that the countries come top in statistics analysing areas such as stability, freedom, sense of security, and happiness.

The president asked himself whether the Nordic countries might be able to further leverage the Nordic Region as a brand.

“We’ve not yet utilised the full potential of the Nordic Region as a brand. And by working together even more actively, we should be able to do even more good. Here, the Nordic Council could serve as a driving force and catalyst. Because it seems to be the case that everything that comes out of the Nordic Region is good,” said the President.