Opening words by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the White House in Washington D.C. on Friday, May 13th 2016

Mr. President and Mrs. Obama,

We, the Leaders of the five Nordic countries, and our spouses, are grateful to you for inviting us and convening the second US – Nordic Summit.

Thank you for the wonderful welcome. This is a very special occasion.

The Nordics are a family with profound commonality of values and history, and with strong ties of cooperation.  With you, Mr. President, we feel we have a kindred spirit.

Gender equality, equal opportunities, and human rights for all, democracy, the rule of law and respect of international law – these are hallmarks of our societies, and an agenda that we share.

Together the Nordics are a superpower – not militarily, but when it comes to innovation, education, competitiveness, sustainable development and clean technologies.  Seen together we are the world’s 12th largest economy. Free trade is clearly in our interest.

We also claim superpower status as far as culture and sports are concerned.   And – as you see we are champions in modesty too!

Mr. President,

We are grateful for the leadership the United States has shown in combatting the most existential threat in the world, that is, climate change; and focusing attention to the Arctic, where we are practically neighbors.  The Arctic Council can be used also as an instrument of confidence building.

The Nordic countries give high value to multilateral cooperation which you have stressed during your tenure. This is vitally important.

Times are turbulent in many respects.  Security threats abound.  The situation has become more tense even in the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe – our neck of the woods. Strengthening security and stability there is called for, and this includes appropriate dialogue with Russia to enhance transparency and reduce risk.

The Nordic countries are – in many ways – security providers in our own region and Europe but also globally. We shoulder our responsibilities. We seek solutions instead of problems. We are willing and able to continue to cooperate with you in promoting security and stability.

We value highly the US commitment to Europe and to our security.

Finland is proud of the long-standing and firm friendship with the US.  It is based on common values and interest, broad contacts between our people and vibrant interaction economically and socially. We are committed to strengthening this partnership even further.

Today I am honored to say to you, on behalf of all the Nordic countries:

In us, the Nordic countries, Mr. President, the Unites States has a solid friend and strong partner.  We are willing to work together with the United States to build a better future for the whole mankind.