The European Union’s position in the international order remains a concern for President Sauli Niinistö, who is hosting the Kultaranta Talks in Naantali, South-west Finland, on Sunday and Monday.
“The European Union is not strong enough,” he stated to members of the media before delivering the opening remarks of the annual debate session on foreign and security policy. “I’ve wondered if the world has indeed gone so far that power is the only thing that’s respected.”
Niinistö pointed out that the re-emergence of great power politics is an unwelcome development especially for small countries such as Finland.
“It’s definitely a bad thing from our perspective, because the international treaty system is there to protect the small. It’s bad news for all small countries if the big ones start to dictate things,” he commented.
Niinistö also commented briefly on the state of the asylum system, which has recently been a hot topic of discussion especially in Italy and Germany.
“I’m still of the same opinion I was a few years ago: this is a European Union-wide issue that can therefore only be solved by the European Union. If we move in a direction where all member states start making their own decisions, it’ll lead to a difficult situation. I’m sure we’ll talk in the near future to see if there’s a readiness to take action as the European Union,” stated Niinistö.
“It’d mean common border controls, and common principles for granting asylum and for dealing with people who do not meet the criteria,” he elaborated.
The participants of the Kultaranta Talks include Martti Ahtisaari, the winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, Mari Kiviniemi, a deputy secretary-general of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, and Miroslav Lajčák, the president of the UN General Assembly.
Niinistö’s opening remarks can be read on the website of the President of the Republic of Finland.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Ville-Veikko Kaakinen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi