Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland

President Stubb on his state visit to Sweden: “For Sweden and Finland – together, now and forever”

President of the Republic of Finland Alexander Stubb, accompanied by Mrs Suzanne Innes-Stubb, paid a state visit to Sweden on 23–24 April 2024.

“We are indeed often alike, sometimes a bit different, but always inseparable. Today – more than ever – we stand together. Sweden’s cause is ours. Finland’s cause is yours,” President Stubb said in his speech in the Riksdag, the Swedish Parliament.

The aim of the visit was to further intensify cooperation between Finland and Sweden in the current security policy context, both bilaterally and as members of NATO. The visit also focused on promoting cooperation between Finnish and Swedish companies in order to strengthen the countries’ global competitiveness and accelerate the green transition.

The visit began on Tuesday morning with a ceremonial welcome in the courtyard of the Royal Palace, where King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia welcomed the presidential couple. The ceremonies were also being followed by Swedish-Finnish children.

Following the meeting with the Royal Family, President Stubb met Speaker of the Riksdag Andreas Norlén. After their discussions, President Stubb gave a speech to the members of the Riksdag. In his speech, President Stubb highlighted Finland’s identity as a Nordic welfare state that has its strongest roots in Sweden. “We are united by our common history, our common culture and our common values.”

The President stressed that Finland and Sweden now stand at the threshold of a new era: “Our NATO membership means that we have taken the final step in adopting the Western community of values, to which I believe we have always belonged.”

“Our shared responsibility for NATO defences in the Baltic region, Arctic region and regions bordering Russia is enormous. Our joint capacity in the air, at sea and on land is an essential part of NATO’s deterrence. This national capacity combined with our NATO and EU membership and the DCA (Defence Cooperation Agreement) with the United States make us more secure than we have ever been in our history,” President Stubb said.

After the speech in the Riksdag, the presidential couple attended a luncheon hosted by the King and the Queen at the Royal Palace.

Meeting with Prime Minister Kristersson and attending a business seminar

In the afternoon, President Stubb held official talks with Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson. The President and the Prime Minister discussed issues such as support for Ukraine and preparations for the NATO Summit in Washington.

At a joint press conference held by President Stubb and Prime Minister Kristersson, the President underlined that, during the NATO membership process, he had felt that a new phase has begun in the relations between Finland and Sweden.

President Stubb, King Carl XVI Gustav and Prime Minister Kristersson also attended a business seminar organised by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, the Confederation of Finnish Industries and Business Sweden. The seminar focused on closer strategic partnerships between Finnish and Swedish businesses.

According to President Stubb, there is a strong connection between the economy and security. The NATO membership also brings a great deal of new opportunities for companies, whether it is a question of infrastructure or investments in general. The President also pointed out that Sweden is Finland’s largest trading partner by far.

Suzanne Innes-Stubb, the spouse of the President of the Republic of Finland, had a separate programme in Stockholm in addition to the joint programme of the presidential couple. Innes-Stubb and Queen Silvia visited the Bernadotte library at the Royal Palace, the Sven-Harry’s Art Museum and a local primary school.

At the end of the day, President Stubb and Mrs Innes-Stubb attended a gala dinner hosted by the King and the Queen in the Royal Palace.

State visit continued in Gothenburg

On Wednesday 24 April, the presidential couple’s programme continued with the King and the Queen as they visited the University of Gothenburg, where President Stubb gave a speech about the geopolitical situation and discussed with the students.

In the afternoon, the programme included a working lunch hosted by Governor Sten Tolgfors of the Västra Götaland County. After this, the presidential couple together with the King and the Queen visited the Port of Gothenburg and the Älvsborg Marine Regiment, where the Swedish navy demonstrated its activities.

In the meeting with the Finnish media, President Stubb highlighted how important role the Port of Gothenburg plays for Finland’s security of supply as the largest port in the Nordic countries.

The state visit ended with a reception hosted by President Stubb and Mrs Innes-Stubb at the Gothenburg Art Museum, followed by a farewell ceremony at the airport.

On his state visit, President Stubb was also accompanied by Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen and Minister of Education Anna-Maja Henriksson.

This was President Stubb’s first state visit. The last state visit to Sweden by the former President of the Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, was in 2022. The most recent visit to Finland by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia was in 2015. They also visited Finland in 2017 together with other Nordic Heads of State to celebrate 100 years of Finnish independence.

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