At the first Summit for Democracy, I stressed that democracy must be defended wherever it is under threat. I wish to underscore this even more forcefully today.
With Russia’s unlawful war of aggression against Ukraine, that threat became very real in Europe in 2022. One year on, Ukraine continues to fight for its independence. At the same time, it stands up for democracy and freedom. Not only for itself, but for all of us around the world.
And Ukraine has not been left alone. The common response of democracies has been swift and strong.
This second Summit for Democracy gives us an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation further. And to track the progress we have made in our own countries. Let me highlight a few examples from Finland. At the end of last year, the Government of Finland approved a new Government Resolution on Democracy Policy. We continue to protect the integrity of elections, which are a cornerstone of our democracy. As it happens, we are just approaching our parliamentary election on Sunday this week.
Ultimately, it is the Finnish civil society that upholds the high standard for our democracy. For any healthy democracy, it is essential to safeguard equal participation. Furthermore, the role of a free and pluralistic media is key. We should not take these elements for granted.
Finland has also taken important steps forward under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan, as well as with establishing a Transparency Register.
We applaud the many democracy cohorts established after the first Summit. Finland supports joint action in these themes, with a particular focus on gender equality, the rule of law, and technology for democracy. Finland remains committed to defend and support democracy – with our many partners in the European Union, in the United Nations, and in initiatives such as the Summit for Democracy.