Inauguration speech by President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö on 1 February 2018

Jaa

Free for publication on 1 February 2018 at 12 hrs 25

(check against delivery)

Madam Speaker, representatives of the Finnish people,

Madam Speaker, thank you for your thought- and emotion-provoking speech. It reminds me that I am here in front of you as a link in a chain of which we are all parts, and it is our turn now to keep Finland strong, united and a good place to live in.

You are the representatives of the people, and I also received my mandate from them. Elections are the culmination of our democratic system. The Finnish flags are waving, and all of us candidates are in anticipation of finding out what is in store for us. But fostering democracy requires persistent work every day. For you, the arena for this work is this recently renovated Parliament Building. Your work is to exercise the powers of the State vested in the people. There is nothing greater.

It is a great honour to be elected President, and it also entails a great responsibility. I take this responsibility humbly but with determination. I will devote myself to this task, and this is the biggest promise one can make.

Politics is about taking care of our common affairs. The people have given us their trust and a valuable mandate. But this mandate is not for us to keep: it requires us to take better care of our common affairs than we would of our own.

During the Presidential campaign the candidates discussed how each of us would take care of our common affairs. And by doing so each of us eight candidates rendered a service to Finnish democracy. For this I thank all my fellow candidates.

Hearing and listening to each other is valuable. We need different viewpoints and opinions. And, most of all, we also need to appreciate people who think differently. Friday last week, a special event was organised here at the Parliament. The leaders of the political parties together honoured the memory of civil war victims and made an appeal for reconciliation, democracy, social equality and unity. This was a valuable thing to do.

* * *

The past six years have been turbulent. There have been conflicts both in Europe, its surroundings, and the world over. These conflicts have tested our regional stability and those four pillars that are crucial for our own security. They may have been put under pressure, but they have not swayed.

Our most important pillar is the national one. Its development is mostly and most directly in our own hands. Its solid core is our credible national defence. But our security is not based only on arms. We also need profound national unity, will and preparedness.

Crises also pose serious challenges to the international community. Few of the crises in this decade have been solved. On the contrary, they have typically dragged on and become protracted. Crises often appear local, but the aims and objectives of global power politics often loom behind the scenes. This reduces the chances of traditional peace processes. Geopolitical interests have been stronger than the desire for peace.

I can see to ways to improve the situation. The first one is the way of the international order: the positions of both the UN and the EU must be strengthened. The days when the organisations led by Hammarskjöld or Delors were taken into consideration are but distant shadows of the past. The UN will have to regain its position as the forum of peoples and the forum for peace; Secretary-General Guterres will need all our support in his reform process. The EU is an organisation with plenty of desire for peace, but it continues to punch below its weight. We need a union which is also a security community with a unified voice that is heard. Finland has an active role in this, we are not a mere observer.

The second is the way of direct contacts: dialogue between the west and the east is essential. And west means not only the United States and NATO but also the EU, and east means not only Russia but also China. Maintaining a dialogue is the first step towards building peace.

I have sought to promote steps along both ways. And I will continue to do so. I have done my best to keep Finland at the tables where the future is decided. And by future I also mean the huge challenges faced by humankind, such as poverty, climate change and gender inequality.

I have sought to find the common ground and interests between the great powers, from improving the Baltic Sea flight safety to reducing black carbon emissions in the Arctic. The more the great powers have in common, the less room there will be for disputes, which is good for the whole world and good for us.

Mitigating climate change will be the most important issue in the next few years. It is a fact that the humanity cannot afford to lose our planet. For a long time people thought that there is unlimited room up there in the atmosphere, as tens of billions tonnes of carbon dioxide end up there every year. It is getting cramped, and it shows.

I am not expecting the world significantly to calm down in the near future. But this cannot be an excuse to give up. On the contrary, Finland can and should do its best to strengthen both our own security and international stability.

* * *

I have often discussed unity and stability. Trust is key in both. The ability to trust each other, the Finnish society and our democracy. Trust does not equal like-mindedness but reflects an appreciation and understanding of the other person's genuine thoughts.

According to research, Finland is the least fragile country in the world. In other words, Finland is the most stable country in the world. It is an extraordinary legacy for this country of trust. I cherish it.

Many good things are happening in Finland right now, but not to everyone. We should particularly take notice of the young. We cannot afford to lose a single future talent. Once lost, they are difficult to retrieve.

Even the wisest decision-maker cannot alone understand and much less solve all our problems. As far as young people are concerned, this is why we need also their help. My wish is: talk to us. We are listening, and we have to take action. We can all take action.

We also have to work actively against loneliness. Loneliness is a serious national disease of our often serious nation. It can haunt anyone, young or old. Also in the fight against loneliness, we can all take action: a small gesture can make a big difference – greeting an elderly person in the supermarket or inviting a young person to join in your street games. No gesture is too small. And every kind word is worth saying. Let us take action and encourage each other. Let us be compassionate, that is what loving your neighbour means.

Six years ago in this same event, I quoted a friend of mine who said: “As President, you cannot just slip into the circle where you will only meet the winners. The winners do not need the President. The President must know how to find and stand by the people who are losing and being lost.” The past six years have only reinforced the value of these words as a guiding principle. The less ill-being there is around us, the better we all are.

The President of the Republic of Finland can be nothing less than the President of the whole country and the whole nation. This is how I understand the office. And this is how I will continue in my job.

Madam Speaker, you asked me which of the five senses would be the most important one for the President of the Republic. I answer with two different kind of senses, the sense of justice and the sense of responsibility and the trust that is built on them.

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for your words of encouragement that you conveyed on behalf of Parliament. I would also like to thank the Parliament for their cooperation and involvement that I we will actively advance in the next six years. I hope that you and all the people of Finland will support me in my efforts for the good of our country and our nation.

Tietoja julkaisijasta

Tasavallan presidentin kanslia
Tasavallan presidentin kanslia
Mariankatu 2
00170 Helsinki

http://www.presidentti.fi

Tilaa tiedotteet sähköpostiisi

Haluatko tietää asioista jo ennen kuin ne uutisoidaan? Kun tilaat tiedotteemme, saat ne sähköpostiisi yhtä aikaa suomalaisen median kanssa. Tilauksen voit halutessasi perua milloin tahansa.

Lue lisää julkaisijalta Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

President Niinistö firar sin födelsedag i arbetets tecken16.8.2018 10:44Tiedote

Republikens presidents kansli Pressmeddelande 31/2018 16.8.2018 Republikens president Sauli Niinistö fyller 70 år den 24 augusti 2018. President Niinistö firar inte sin bemärkelsedag, utan dagen går i arbetets tecken. Eventuell uppvaktning önskar president Niinistö att riktas till välgörenhet. Som mottagare av donationerna har presidenten valt Tukikummit, en stiftelse som stöder unga som hotas av marginalisering, och Veikko ja Lahja Hurstin Laupeudentyö ry, en förening som arbetar till förmån för behövande. En födelsedagsintervju med republikens president sänds i Yle Radio 1 lördagen den 25 augusti kl. 13-14. I direktsändningen intervjuas president Niinistö av flera redaktörer under ledning av Yles ansvariga producent Petri Kejonen. Kontonummer för eventuella donationer: Tukikummit: IBAN FI14 8000 1971 3807 88, meddelande: Sauli Niinistö 70 år Veikko ja Lahja Hurstin Laupeudentyö ry: IBAN FI80 8000 1170 0790 90, meddelande: Sauli Niinistö 70 år

Presidentti Niinistö viettää syntymäpäiviään työn merkeissä16.8.2018 10:43Tiedote

Tasavallan presidentin kanslia Tiedote 31/2018 16.8.2018 Tasavallan presidentti Sauli Niinistö täyttää 70 vuotta 24. elokuuta 2018. Presidentti Niinistö ei juhlista merkkipäiväänsä, vaan viettää sitä työn merkeissä. Mahdolliset muistamiset presidentti Niinistö toivoo suunnattavan hyväntekeväisyyteen. Presidentin valitsemia hyväntekeväisyyskohteita ovat syrjäytymisvaarassa olevia nuoria tukeva Tukikummit-säätiö ja vähäosaisten hyväksi toimiva Veikko ja Lahja Hurstin Laupeudentyö ry. Tasavallan presidentin syntymäpäivähaastattelu kuullaan lauantaina 25. elokuuta Yle Radio 1:llä klo 13–14. Presidentti Niinistöä haastattelee suorassa lähetyksessä Ylen vastaavan tuottajan Petri Kejosen johdolla useampi toimittaja. Tilinumerot mahdollisia lahjoituksia varten: Tukikummit-säätiö: IBAN FI14 8000 1971 3807 88, viestiksi: Sauli Niinistö 70v. Veikko ja Lahja Hurstin Laupeudentyö ry: IBAN FI80 8000 1170 0790 90, viestiksi: Sauli Niinistö 70v.

President Niinistö to make a working visit to Russia10.8.2018 15:03Tiedote

Office of the President of the Republic Press Release 30/2018 10 August 2018 President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö will make a working visit to Russia and meet President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 22 August 2018. The meeting will take place at President Putin’s Sochi residence. During the working visit, the presidents will discuss current international, regional and bilateral topics. Following their discussions and working lunch, the presidents will hold a joint press conference. President Niinistö and President Putin last met in conjunction with the #HELSINKI2018 meeting on 16 July 2018.

President Niinistö på arbetsbesök till Ryssland10.8.2018 15:02Tiedote

Republikens presidents kansli Pressmeddelande 30/2018 10.8.2018 Republikens president Sauli Niinistö avlägger ett arbetsbesök i Ryssland och träffar Rysslands president Vladimir Putin den 22 augusti 2018 i Sotji. Mötet hålls i president Putins Sotji residens. Under arbetsbesöket diskuterar presidenterna aktuella internationella, regionala och bilaterala frågor. Efter diskussionen och en arbetslunch håller presidenterna en gemensam presskonferens. President Niinistö och president Putin träffades senast den 16 juli 2018 i samband med mötet #HELSINKI2018.

Presidentti Niinistö työvierailulle Venäjälle10.8.2018 15:02Tiedote

Tasavallan presidentin kanslia Tiedote 30/2018 10.8.2018 Tasavallan presidentti Sauli Niinistö tekee työvierailun Venäjälle ja tapaa Venäjän presidentti Vladimir Putinin 22. elokuuta 2018 Sotshissa. Tapaaminen pidetään presidentti Putinin Sotshin residenssissä. Työvierailun aikana presidentit keskustelevat ajankohtaisista kansainvälisistä, alueellisista ja kahdenvälisistä kysymyksistä. Presidenttien välisen keskustelun ja työlounaan jälkeen presidentit pitävät yhteisen lehdistötilaisuuden. Presidentti Niinistö ja presidentti Putin tapasivat edellisen kerran 16. heinäkuuta 2018 #HELSINKI2018-tapaamisen yhteydessä.

French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Finland30.7.2018 12:40Tiedote

Office of the President of the Republic Press Release 29/2018 30 July 2018 The French President Emmanuel Macron and his spouse Brigitte Macron will make an official visit to Finland from 29 to 30 August 2018. The visit will be hosted by President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö together with Mrs. Jenni Haukio. President Macron will also meet with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. A more detailed program will be announced closer to the visit.

Uutishuoneessa voit lukea tiedotteitamme ja muuta julkaisemaamme materiaalia. Löydät sieltä niin yhteyshenkilöidemme tiedot kuin vapaasti julkaistavissa olevia kuvia ja videoita. Uutishuoneessa voit nähdä myös sosiaalisen median sisältöjä. Kaikki STT Infossa julkaistu materiaali on vapaasti median käytettävissä.

Tutustu uutishuoneeseemme