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EU Heads of mission working lunch with President Niinistö (Helsinki, 17 November 2015)

Published Wednesday November 18 2015

On the invitation of the Luxembourg EU presidency, President Sauli Niinistö attended a working lunch, which the EU group of Ambassadors had been looking forward to on the basis of a well-established tradition that foresees biannual exchanges of views with the Finnish Head of State. President Niinistö set off by addressing the terrorist threat facing European States, as had been tragically documented by the terrorist attacks of Paris. He furthermore provided the EU Ambassadors with his understanding of the migratory crisis and the concerns it provoked at the level of European leaders and citizens alike. The Head of State gave his evaluation of the domestic management of the migrant influx in Finland, considering the arrival, in 2015, of over 30.000 refugees and asylum seekers. President Niinistö also addressed the tense relationship between the Russian Federation and the member States of the EU, expressing his concern at an obvious destabilisation of the greater Nordic-Baltic region. In that connection, he commented upon the increase in military co-operation among the Nordic States and confirmed that the issue of the Finnish non-alignment policy was a subject of debate within the political class and among the citizens. The Head of State assessed the major initiatives by the European Commission to make Europe more competitive, including at the level of re-industrialisation, to ensure the return of economic growth and to make the EU fit in terms of energy provision, climate goals and the digital revolution. Finally, President Niinistö reviewed a number of crisis and conflict zones, which, while situated outside Europe, had their bearing on European policy-making.

Courtesy of Astra Wines Ltd, a company established in Espoo, Finland, the meeting with President Niimistö was nicely rounded off with a Bernard Massard Millésimé 2013, a tasty Crémant glass from Luxembourg.