Finland takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1st July to 31 December 2019. At a press conference held by the Embassy of Finland in China on Thursday, Jarno Syrjälä, Finnish Ambassador to China emphasized that advancing trade and investment relations with China is a priority.
“On the 1st of July 2019, Finland took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the third time since its EU accession in 1995. We have now an excellent opportunity to influence the future of Europe - a future that must be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable,” said Syrjälä in the speech of the reception marking the opening of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union on the same day.
“Many of the topics and actions we plan both concern and involve China. Advancing trade and investment relations with China is a priority. The EU is pursuing a more balanced economic relationship with China. The EU will continue a strategic and comprehensive reflection on its approach to China,” said Syrjälä when introducing Finland’s Presidency Program.
In April 2017, China and Finland confirmed the establishment of a future-oriented new-type cooperative partnership in a joint declaration during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the Nordic country.
During the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö’s state visit to China this January, the two sides published a joint action plan between China and Finland on promoting the future-oriented new-type cooperative partnership (2019-2023).
“Sino-Finnish relations are currently excellent. This is appropriate as we approach the 70th Anniversary of our diplomatic relations. I am convinced that both China and Finland will greatly benefit from closer cooperation also in the future,” Syrjälä noted at the press conference.
“China is Finland's largest trading partner in Asia and the fourth largest globally. Economic relations between China and Finland are more than just trade in goods. There is an entire set of economic interactions: trade in services, investments, research and development, tourism, employment, and so forth. China is also an important home market for many Finnish companies.
“China's growing consumer product sector combined with the need for sustainable production is a good match with Finland’s expertise in clean technology, bio-economy, and digitalization as well as with the raw materials Finland produces,” Syrjälä added.
Syrjälä also noted that the 2019 China-Finland Year of Winter Sports is significant for the two countries’ sports cooperation. “Our commitment to cooperate with China in this sector continues until the Winter Olympics 2022, and even beyond.”