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President Sauli Niinistö spoke to reporters after the opening ceremony of the new parliamentary session in the Finnish Parliament on Tuesday, 6 February, 2018.
President Sauli Niinistö spoke to reporters after the opening ceremony of the new parliamentary session in the Finnish Parliament on Tuesday, 6 February, 2018.

 

President Sauli Niinistö has reiterated his concerns about the impact of intense flow of migrants on the cohesiveness and functioning of the asylum system of the European Union.

“Europe will also face pressure caused by future migration, probably to a growing extent and particularly from Africa,” he stated in his speech at the opening ceremony of the parliamentary session in Helsinki on Tuesday, 6 February.

“The best way to alleviate this pressure is to improve living conditions in the countries of origin. The EU member states and the union itself have their respective development cooperation programmes, which need to be better coordinated,” added Niinistö.

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The EU, he said, must not only ensure the functioning of its asylum system but also establish common practices for border control, the processing of asylum applications and the returns of unsuccessful applicants.

Niinistö caused commotion on the same occasion two years ago by estimating in his speech that neither Finland nor Europe is capable of fulfilling its obligations under international agreements due to the influx of asylum seekers. He consequently proposed that the agreements be re-interpreted in order to ensure they reflect the prevalent circumstances.

This year, he encouraged lawmakers to respond to the challenges arising from migration and climate change, as well as the sense of insecurity caused by such developments.

“It is your demanding task to understand global change. To understand the fact that we cannot stop that change, and to understand how to best keep this country and its people up with the change. There is much talk about the breakup of the coherent culture. But we are still one people, one nation and therefore a community with our common interest to defend,” he stated.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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