The Kultaranta Talks, hosted by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö, started on Sunday 12 June 2022. The title of this year's event is “Responsible, strong and stable Nordic region”.
In his opening remarks, President Niinistö highlighted, among other things, the economic impacts of the war in Ukraine that Finland is facing from an already weak financial position. Particular attention must be paid to the issue. “We must remember that the cohesion and resilience of a nation largely rest on its economic foundations.” At the same time, the President reminded the listeners of the fact that Ukraine pays the ultimate price for the situation. “There are no signs in sight to indicate that the war would end any time soon. Ukraine continues its fight for independence and our common values. We must continue our persistent support for Ukraine,” the President said.
In his speech, Secretary General Stoltenberg underscored the historic nature of Finland’s NATO decision and said that Finland’s membership would not only increase security in Finland but also strengthen the Alliance as a whole.
After their speeches, Niinistö and Stoltenberg discussed such issues as the war in Ukraine and Finland’s NATO membership in front of the audience. Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre was the first to comment on the discussion. Støre expressed Norway’s strong support for Finland’s NATO membership and emphasised that the Nordic region threatens no one. President Niinistö continued by underscoring that security is not a zero-sum game. “If somebody increases security, it’s not away from anybody.”
One-on-one meeting with the NATO Secretary General
Before the opening discussions, President Niinistö met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg privately. The discussion concerned such issues as Finland’s NATO membership, the war in Ukraine and the changed security environment. In the joint press conference following the tête-à-tête, President Niinistö thanked Secretary General Stoltenberg for co-operation and keeping in close contact.
“The views expressed by Turkey took us by surprise. In international politics, it is important to take seriously what the party you are talking with is saying, and we do take Turkey’s views seriously,” Niinistö said.
On the second day, on Monday morning at 9:45 am, the programme continued with a panel discussion on Nordic co-operation and security. The second discussion of the day at 11:30 am concerned Finland’s changing security policy.