President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö visited Satakunta and Southwest Finland on Tuesday, 26 January 2016.
The President's journey began in Säkylä, where he inspected the Pori Brigade. At the Crisis Management Centre, President Niinistö was provided with a glimpse of the brigade's international activities and current situation in the Kurdish autonomous region. Finnish peacekeepers heading for Erbil in northern Iraq are being provided with training in Säkylä, and will go on to train Peshmerga forces fighting Daesh. The President observed urban warfare training in the brigade's technology building and chatted with the soldiers involved in the exercise. "I was enormous impressed by their attitude and professionalism," President Niinistö said.
Equality training for peacekeepers based on UN Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security) was also displayed for the President. President Niinistö regards the aims of Finland's national 1325 Action Plan as sufficient. "I think the targets are proportionate and have been implemented very well in practice. In the traditional Finnish way, we act in line with our commitments," the President said in Säkylä.
President Niinistö is a Head of State IMPACT Champion of the HeForShe campaign – implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 forms part of the commitment to the campaign.
President Niinistö left Säkylä for Laitila, where he was given a guided tour of the beverage plant of Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas Oy by CEO Rami Aarikka. A public event, which celebrated local World Championship medallists in junior ice hockey and ringette, was held in the factory yard. The President spoke at the ceremony and shared a few words with locals among the crowd.
In the afternoon, President Niinistö visited Rauma's heavy metal industry business park, Seaside Industrial Park, built in the area of the old shipyard. One of the park's flagship companies, the shipyard firm Rauma Marine Constructions, was visited during the shipyard tour.
Kari Koski, Mayor of the City of Rauma, stated that the city had acquired the buildings and property of the yard by a unanimous decision. "We did not want skills to disappear and unemployment to rise," said Koski. The city is now moving forward based on networked operations. "Around 1,500 ships have been built in Rauma in 75 years. Shipbuilding is in Rauma's DNA," says Heikki Pöntynen, CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions.
The visit ended in a shopping centre in central Rauma in the afternoon, when President Niinistö met with city residents and discussed the refugee crisis, among other issues. The President mentioned that senior members of the government were in constant touch, conveying a clear picture of the situation. But there are no easy solutions. For example, President Niinistö stated that the situation on the eastern border should be resolved one step at a time through negotiation.
President Niinistö also discussed the collaborative basis of activities in the business park. "Many companies operate there in collaboration, within the framework created by the business park. The lessons of such cooperation should be learned elsewhere," the President said, referring to the national labour market negotiations that are about to resume.