President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö was guest speaker at the 74th Session of the Nordic Council, in Parliament House on Tuesday, 1 November 2022.
In his speech, President Niinistö congratulated the Nordic Council on the occasion of its 70th anniversary. “The Nordic countries are regarded as pioneers in many sectors. And that is what we are, at least in our mutual cooperation. Through the decades, we have determinedly strengthened our Nordic family.”
Although Finland was not formally a member of the Nordic Council in its early years, cooperation was tight. The President said that for Finland, the Nordic countries were then, and still are, the closest group of friends and international reference group. At the first session of the Nordic Council that Finland attended in 1956, Council President Bertil Ohlin said: “It felt as if a chair was empty when Finland was not here.”
Nordic cooperation will deepen further through NATO membership. “Our interests are often similar and our capabilities are strong and complementary. When Finland and Sweden join NATO, there will no longer be empty Nordic chairs in the NATO Council either. Together, we are strong security providers in our own region and beyond. In the future, we will strive to ensure that the whole Alliance benefits from our cooperation.”
The President stated that in many ways the Nordic countries are seen as ideal societies in the world, and asked whether better use should be made of the Nordic brand. “There seems to be a perception that everything that comes from the Nordic countries must be good.” In the international arena, the Nordic countries could rely more on the Nordic brand in their politics. In business, one could first look at where there are synergies: “In the new technologies sector, in particular, we are up against large companies that operate under different rules, with different values. In the 5G and quantum technology markets, reliability is a hard asset.”
The President also raised the fact that the Nordic countries have traditionally been strong advocates of peace. “This is a part of our brand that we should not lose. After all, only peace is the basis for sustainable security.”
Lunch at the Presidential Palace
On Tuesday afternoon, President Niinistö hosted a lunch at the Presidential Palace for the speakers of the Nordic parliaments, the Nordic countries’ prime ministers, foreign ministers and cooperation ministers, other representatives of the parliaments, and ambassadors.
In the evening, the Presidential couple attended the Nordic Council’s awards ceremony at Helsinki Music Centre, where the Nordic Council prizes for film, music, the environment, literature, and children’s and youths’ literature were awarded. At the event, spouse of the President of the Republic of Finland Jenni Haukio presented the Council literature prize, which went to the novel “Om udregning af rumfang I, II og III” by the Danish author Solvej Balle.
The programme of the 74th Session of the Nordic Council includes a summit of the members of the Nordic Council and the prime ministers of the Nordic countries, focusing on the future of the Nordic Region’s role in the world. The topics are security, the war in Ukraine, and the energy and climate crisis. This year, Finland holds the Presidency of the Nordic Council.
The Nordic Council, founded in 1952, is the official body for formal inter-parliamentary Nordic cooperation. The Council has 87 representatives from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, and from Åland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
- Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the 74th Session of the Nordic Council in Helsinki on 1 November 2022
- Nordic Council