Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and Mrs Jenni Haukio welcomed King Harald V of Norway and Queen Sonja to the Presidential Palace at a reception ceremony held on 6 September 2016. After the ceremony, President Niinistö and King Harald led a series of discussions between their delegations.
President Niinistö opened the talks by affirming that Nordic cooperation is needed. The President reminded the audience that the Nordic countries came top in all surveys of positive aspects of nations. He went on to point out that more could be made of this reputation capital.
Discussion themes included Arctic cooperation, Russia, Ukraine, the EU’s situation, and the implications of the British Brexit vote. The theme of potential health cooperation between Finland and Norway was also raised. Participants in the discussions included Børge Brende and Timo Soini – the Norwegian and Finnish foreign ministers – as well as health ministers Bent Høie and Pirkko Mattila.
President Niinistö mentioned Finland’s forthcoming, two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which will begin in the spring of 2017. He stated that the Arctic Council also provided a possible framework for cooperation between the United States and Russia. President Niinistö has mentioned the possibility of organising a high-level summit during the Finnish Presidency of the Council, if the circumstances are favourable.
The President summed up the discussions as follows: “We were in the company of friends, as the warm atmosphere confirmed. Our countries face many similar problems – and we are contemplating similar solutions.”
The royal couple left the Presidential Palace to visit the Finnish Parliament, where they were received by the Speaker, Maria Lohela. On Tuesday, they also met with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and laid wreaths at the Hietaniemi Cemetery. In addition, the King and Queen and the presidential couple enjoyed a lunch, provided by the City of Helsinki, at the City Hall. At the end of the day, President Niinistö and Mrs Haukio hosted a celebratory dinner at the Presidential Palace.
Game industry and e-health feature in economic seminar
On Wednesday, the presidential couple and the royal couple participated in an economic seminar held at Wanha Satama, which focussed on subjects such as the game industry, and digital information systems and services in health care, i.e. e-health. The afternoon included a visit to the medical research and education centre Biomedicum, as well as roundtable business discussions. A concert and a reception at the Kalastajatorppa Hotel were on the Norwegian royal couple’s evening programme.
The programme for the state visit continued in Oulu on Thursday. Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn and his spouse, as well as senior members of the city administration, played host to the royal couple during their visit to Oulu. During the day, King Harald and Queen Sonja visited the University of Oulu, Nokia’s Rusko factory and Oulu University Hospital. The royal pair and their delegation had lunch, as guests of the City of Oulu, at Oulu City Hall.
Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland, Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide and a large business delegation also participated in the state visit.
- Speech by President Niinistö at a banquet in honour of the state visit by King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway on 6 September 2016
- Speech by President Niinistö at the “Innovsjon Norge” business seminar on 7 September 2016