Speech by President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö to the outgoing Government on 24 June 2014

Esteemed Member of Parliament Katainen,

Thank you for your kind words. I would like to thank you and the Members of your Government for our cooperation of more than two years.

Before your term as Prime Minister, you served as Minister of Finance for one electoral term. During your years as minister you faced ‘seven thin years’, and the economy has still to return to the level of 2007. Time and again we found ourselves discovering that, no matter how good they sound, we cannot put our faith in positive economic forecasts.

The Government that was formed after the previous parliamentary elections was a broad-based one, and had to spend a long time in finding a common vision. Ministers were reshuffled and portfolios revised. Close to the end of its term, the sextet was replaced by a quintet. Through all of this, you as Prime Minister aimed to instil confidence in the actions of the Government.

With your Government having survived altogether seventeen votes of confidence, you have now decided to leave your post as prime minister.

Your term of office was characterised by economic issues and the global financial crisis, the impacts of which were impossible to avoid in Finland and in Europe. Quite rightly, your aim was to balance the national economy and to stimulate growth. Following Governments will need to set these same objectives.

In EU politics the plot, stage and set have constantly changed. Finland’s role, too, has changed: while still remaining faithful to the curriculum, the model student has been questioning the model.

The Ukrainian crisis has rocked Europe’s sense of security, and continues to do so. Our own security policy thinking is based on continuity and anticipation, including the anticipation of poor alternatives, as in the latest Security and Defence Policy Report. This has been the correct policy.

Cooperation between the Government and the President has been smooth, also on the basis of the latest additions to the Constitution. However, we have perhaps had to share the experience of there being no need for further additions, at least not ones in the same direction. During the spring we witnessed how the importance of cooperation gains particular emphasis during crises, with the same issues being handled both within the EU and in other connections.

Esteemed Member of Parliament Katainen, I would like to thank you and the Ministers of your Government for the work you have done. I wish you success and good fortune in your future duties.