President Sauli Niinistö. Copyright © Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö says that smooth co-operation in foreign policy is self-evident. “I have no doubts that we will work well together,” said President Niinistö at the Presidential Palace on Monday 5 March 2012. The President held a press conference concerning the beginning of his term in office.
President Niinistö said that he had already met the Minister for Foreign Affairs and had spoken with the chairman and deputy chairman of the Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee over the weekend. He will be meeting the Prime Minister next week. “We have had solid discussions.”
“There are many changes happening in the world. There are changes happening in Russia,” said President Niinistö, adding that he will be congratulating the winner of the Russian presidential election, Vladimir Putin, on Monday. While the outcome of the election is very clear, there is evidence of electoral fraud, he said. “That is not good, but I am sure the democracy debate in Russia will continue.”
Guardian of integrity
President Niinistö considers that the Nordic model for life and society is becoming increasingly attractive amidst all the turmoil of the world. “If people worldwide consider our model and our policies to be good, maybe the Nordic countries should spread some of this goodness around.”
President Niinistö feels that the European Union has lost some of its status and that this trend has been exacerbated by the debt crisis. He said to look at what decisions that EU has taken and which of those decisions have actually been put into practice. “There is an obvious discrepancy there.”
Apart from heading Finland’s foreign policy, President Niinistö sees his role as that of a guardian of integrity. “What I mean is that if the President notices that there is a phenomenon or trend in the country that is not in the national interest, he has a responsibility to draw attention to it.”
In this sense, the President also needs to be active in the economy. “In other words, I need to promote Finnish expertise and Finnish workmanship abroad,” he said.
President Niinistö said he has been settling in well at Mäntyniemi and in his new duties. “It is all very nice.” He has lots more space to live in now, “but not so sure I have more freedom,” he said jokingly.