Speech by President Sauli Niinistö to the representatives of the highest state institutions and the public officials on 1 March 2024

Photo: Matti Porre/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Kuva: Matti Porre/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

Mr Speaker and Honoured Members of Parliament,
Distinguished Prime Minister and Members of Government,
Honoured judges,
Dear representatives of the orders, churches, Åland and the Sami people,
Dear representatives of the central government

Today, when my term as the President of the Republic of Finland ends after 12 years, my prevailing feeling is that of gratitude over how well we are in Finland. Even though times have changed in an increasingly uncertain – even hostile– direction, Finland has stood strong and stable.

Our democracy works. We cherish our mutual trust. We bear a sense of responsibility to the extent it can be reasonably expected of us. These are the keys to Finland’s success.

Mr Speaker

While acting as President, I have considered it of utmost importance to maintain a strong connection with Parliament, in other words, the representatives of the Finnish people. Therefore, I would like to, once more, thank Parliament for the cooperation we have practiced in the spirit of parliamentarism over all these years. This cooperation has not required formal structures.

Mr Prime Minister

Our co-operation in foreign and security policy issues with your Government has been seamless. I wish you wisdom and strength in your work you are doing for the interests of Finland in the future as well. No one can predict what lies ahead, but I dare to anticipate that you will still be facing many difficulties.

Dear members of the judiciary

You dispense justice for the common good. Trust in the judicial system has been traditionally high in Finland. It shows how this country has been built based on law, and how the goodness of society lies in justice.

In international comparison, Finland distinguishes itself as an exceptionally stable and safe society. Comparisons are often based on surveys made among the people. They show that Finns have confidence in common structures.

As I have used to say, NATO membership does not make Finland bigger than it is. But we are strong, we stand ready and alert to defend. The will to defend the country is high, and so is the competence of the Finnish Defence Forces. As my term as Supreme Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces comes to an end, I extend my thanks to the Defence Forces.

Security is strengthened and ensured through everyday, in every part of Finland. Eventually, security also depends on each and everyone of us. All of you have been working for Finland and its every province to keep our nation vital and secure.

I want to express my special thanks to the representatives of Åland for the close dialogue we have been maintaining over these 12 years.

Through your determined work, all of you and the institutions you are representing have kept Finland safe and fair for your own part. That way Finland has remained a democratic and strong nation that also succeeds internationally.

I want to wish you every success in your work for our country and the good of its people. And to each of you personally I wish all the best.