Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the closing of the electoral period 2015-2019 on 10 April 2019

Jaa

Madam Speaker, Members of Parliament,

It is the duty of Parliament and its members to look to the future. To work to ensure future well-being for us all. During this four-year term now coming to an end, we have nevertheless also been remembering the past. And rightfully so. We have celebrated a number of commemorative years.

In 2016, we marked 110 years since the parliamentary reform granting also women the full right to vote and stand for election. The following year was spent celebrating our 100-year journey as an independent country. Last year, we remembered a dark chapter of our history, the Civil War which was tearing our society apart immediately after Finland gained independence. And now, the Constitution Act, which defines Finland as a republic, will reach the age of 100 years.

Remembering the milestones of the past is of value in itself. It is important for a nation to know its own story. The story, which binds us together. History does by no means repeat itself as such. But the true added value of retelling our story only comes from understanding how the lessons of history guide us towards the future.

* * *

None of the themes of these recent commemorative years has lost its relevance. Equality was at the core of the year 1906. It remains one of Finland’s most important strengths. Plenty of room for improvement still remains, however – between genders, between generations, between different groups of people. Equality requires daily nurturing and bravery to defend it, from us all.

The theme for Finland’s centenary year was “Together”. It is also a good guiding principle for the future. A democracy can cope with differences of opinion, in fact, they are needed. But we cannot allow our disagreements to drive us apart. Splintering into factions would also weaken our security. Working together requires respect for the fellow citizens. Not only prior to elections, but at all times, in politics and in the everyday life.

One of the sobering lessons of 1918 is how easy it is for a cycle of hate to lead to ruthless brutality. When we compare our story to that of other countries, however, we were able to find reconciliation exceptionally soon after the Civil War. But it would have been better if the concord had never been broken. If we now recognize signs of a cycle of hate, we must be able to nip it in the bud.

The old Constitution Act established 100 years ago still lays a firm foundation for our current Constitution. Finland is a republic in which the powers are vested in the people and the Parliament representing the people. Legislative, executive, and judicial powers are separated, fundamental rights are guaranteed. The unbroken rule of this Constitution throughout the tumultuous 20th century is also rare by international terms. Nevertheless, we should not take democracy granted in the 21st century, either.

* * *

Equality, working together, concord and democracy - safeguarding these principles is hard work at the best of times. And the current times are not of the best kind. We live in an uncertain and unpredictable environment.

The beautiful post-Cold War world, in which we would all have liked to believe, has quickly taken on darker tones. Peace, democracy and human rights did not continue their steady march to victory, after all. The belief in rules, agreements and international organisations is increasingly being put to the test.

Power politics of states has returned, if it ever really went away. And states are not by far the only ones using power. Malicious networks and individuals have new kinds of capabilities and means for harming others.

In this kind of a world, the good must be steadfast. All over Europe, this reality is now beginning to be understood. Compared to many other European countries, we have at no stage let down our own defence, and this has been our strength. But also our own system has had a whole range of legislative gaps that have left us vulnerable.

Far too little attention has been given to this Parliament's consistent work aiming to fill these gaps. The list of legislative achievements from this electoral period to strengthen our security is a long one.

Changes to the Military Service Act have made it easier to raise the level of our defensive preparedness. The act on providing and receiving international assistance has strengthened our decision-making ability on security cooperation. Our capacities for preventing money-laundering and funding of terrorism have improved. National security is now a more important consideration in matters of dual citizenship, land use and property ownership. The acts on civil and military intelligence, which are waiting for final confirmation, will give the authorities significantly better capacities to carry out preventative measures.

I would like to extend my warmest thanks to you all for this work. I also wish to remind you that we have not yet reached the end of the road. In the coming electoral period, we must continue the work to pass legislation responding to the realities of the world around us.

Realities are precisely what we are dealing with. It would be much more pleasant to simply be able to trust that nothing is threatening us. But all the good which our society represents needs decisive defending. In this, Parliament has a highly important role.

* * *

Last autumn, at the opening ceremony of the national defence course, I asserted that defending our planet is also national defence. Climate change and its impact on our living conditions are not simply a news item from the last four years. Climate science has been informing us of these realities for much longer – to those who have been listening. Acting on them has taken a long time. At the same time, the task has become more difficult.

The start of the electoral period coincided with the Paris Climate Agreement, and the end of the period saw the publication of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received much attention. We have enough information. We now know what we need to do to meet the 1.5 degree target. We also have a clearer understanding of how dramatic the difference is between a temperature rise of 1.5 and 2 degrees.

Young people, at least, have understood the urgency of this matter. And this is good. Young people are demanding a new kind of decisiveness from today’s decision-makers. Their voices must be heard, because they are the true stakeholders in this matter. It is first and foremost their future and the future of the generations to come that is at stake.

* * *

To conclude, I will return to the core of our democracy, the Constitution. Especially in recent months, the discussions on interpreting the constitution and constitutionality of legislation have been heated. Although the consequences of this have been complex for many projects and reforms, the attention paid to the Constitution have been valuable for our democracy. Our nation is built on the strong foundation of the Constitution.

The Constitution also lives in time. Many seem to have missed one of its most recent amendments, which relates to the Constitution’s foreign and security policy dimension. It is well known that foreign policy is led by the President of the Republic in cooperation with the Government. But the constitutional amendment that came into force in 2012 gives Parliament itself a decisive role, should the President and the Government come into conflict on significant matters relating to foreign and security policy.

Such a conflict will of course be avoided by all means. However, this constitutional amendment gives Parliament an even greater responsibility in foreign and security policy than before. The parliamentary contribution is also strongly visible in processing the Government’s policy reports.

The need for debate on foreign policy is, in other words, not limited to the run-up to elections. There is also a need for it after and between elections. For my own part, I have engaged in such discussions with parliamentary committees and party leaders throughout this past electoral period. I intend to continue doing so with the incoming Parliament as well.

* * *

Madam Speaker, Members of Parliament,

I would like to extend my thanks to Parliament for the valuable work you have done for our nation, and I hereby declare Parliament closed for the present electoral period.

Tietoja julkaisijasta

Tasavallan presidentin kanslia
Tasavallan presidentin kanslia
Mariankatu 2
00170 Helsinki

http://www.presidentti.fi

Tilaa tiedotteet sähköpostiisi

Haluatko tietää asioista ensimmäisten joukossa? Kun tilaat mediatiedotteemme, saat ne sähköpostiisi välittömästi julkaisuhetkellä. Tilauksen voit halutessasi perua milloin tahansa.

Lue lisää julkaisijalta Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

Presidentti Niinistö vierailee Kuopiossa16.4.2019 14:59:23 EESTTiedote

Tasavallan presidentin kanslia Tiedote 7/2019 16.4.2019 Tasavallan presidentti Sauli Niinistö vierailee Kuopiossa lauantaina 27. huhtikuuta 2019. Vierailun aluksi presidentti Niinistö osallistuu kirjailija Sirpa Kähkösen vetämään paneeliin suomalaisesta keskustelukulttuurista Kuopion kaupungintalolla. Puhetta vai ohipuhetta – miten Suomessa keskustellaan? -otsikolla käytävään keskusteluun osallistuvat lisäksi Kuopion hiippakunnan piispa Jari Jolkkonen sekä Viikkosavon ja Kuopion Kaupunkilehden päätoimittaja Aija Pirinen. Tilaisuus alkaa kello 12 ja on avoin yleisölle. Paikkoja on rajoitetusti. Iltapäivällä presidentti osallistuu kansallisen veteraanipäivän valtakunnalliseen pääjuhlaan sekä palkitsee veteraaneja erillisessä kunniamerkkien jakotilaisuudessa Kuopion Musiikkikeskuksessa. Veteraanipäivän pääjuhlaa on vietetty vuodesta 1987 lähtien Lapin sodan päättymisen vuosipäivänä. Presidentti Niinistö vieraili Kuopiossa edellisen kerran maaliskuussa 2017 osana Suomen itsenäisyyden 100-v

President Niinistö besöker Kuopio16.4.2019 14:58:58 EESTTiedote

Republikens presidents kansli Pressmeddelande 7/2019 16.4.2019 Republikens president Sauli Niinistö besöker Kuopio lördagen den 27 april 2019. President Niinistö inleder besöket med att delta i en paneldiskussion om debattkulturen i Finland. Diskussionen hålls i stadshuset i Kuopio och leds av författaren Sirpa Kähkönen. I diskussionen Puhetta vai ohipuhetta – miten Suomessa keskustellaan? deltar också Jari Jolkkonen, biskop för Kuopio stift, och Aija Pirinen, chefredaktör för Viikkosavo och Kuopion Kaupunkilehti. Paneldiskussionen inleds kl. 12 och är öppen för allmänheten. Antalet platser är begränsat. På eftermiddagen deltar presidenten i den nationella veterandagens riksomfattande huvudfest, och vid ett separat evenemang i Kuopio musikcentrum delar presidenten ut utmärkelser till veteraner. Veterandagens huvudfest har sedan 1987 ordnats på årsdagen för slutet av Lapplandskriget. President Niinistö besökte senast Kuopio i mars 2017 som ett led i den serie landskapsbesök som presiden

Tasavallan presidentti Sauli Niinistön puhe eduskunnan vaalikauden päättäjäisissä 10.4.201910.4.2019 14:15:00 EESTTiedote

Arvoisa puhemies, arvoisat Suomen kansan edustajat, Eduskunnan ja kansanedustajien kuuluu katsoa tulevaisuuteen. Omalla työllään varmistaa, että meidän käy edelleen hyvin. Päättyvän nelivuotiskauden varrella olemme silti muistelleet myös mennyttä. Ja ansaitusti niin. Muistovuosi on seurannut toistaan. Täyden äänioikeuden ja vaalikelpoisuuden myös naisille toteuttaneesta eduskuntauudistuksesta tuli vuonna 2016 kuluneeksi 110 vuotta. Koko seuraavan vuoden vietimme juhlien itsenäisyytemme satavuotista taivalta. Viime vuonna muistimme historiamme synkkää lukua, yhteiskuntaamme heti itsenäistymisen jälkeen repinyttä sisällissotaa. Ja nyt on tasavaltaisen hallitusmuotomme vuoro tulla sadan vuoden ikään. Menneiden rajapyykkien muistamisella on itseisarvonsa. Kansakunnan on tärkeää tuntea oma tarinansa. Se sitoo meidät yhteen. Historia ei toki sellaisenaan toista itseään. Todellista lisäarvoa tarinamme kertaaminen tuo vasta sitten, jos ymmärrämme, miten historiasta saadut opit ohjaavat meitä t

Republikens president Sauli Niinistös tal vid avslutningen av riksdagens valperiod den 10 april 201910.4.2019 14:15:00 EESTTiedote

Ärade talman, ärade representanter för Finlands folk! Riksdagen och riksdagsledamöterna ska blicka framåt. De ska med sitt eget arbete säkerställa att vi även framöver har det bra. Under den fyraårsperiod som nu avslutas har vi emellertid också erinrat oss det förflutna. Och det med rätta. Jubileumsåren har avlöst varandra. År 2016 hade det förflutit 110 år sedan den riksdagsreform där även kvinnors gavs full rösträtt och valbarhet antogs. Året därpå firade vi 100-årsjubileet av vår självständighet. I fjol blickade vi tillbaka på det mörka kapitlet i vår historia, på det inbördeskrig som slet vårt samhälle itu genast efter att nationen hade blivit självständig. Och nu är det republikens regeringsform som står i tur att fira sitt 100-årsjubileum. Det är värdefullt i sig att minnas passerade milstolpar. Det är viktigt att en nation känner till sin historia – det binder oss samman. Historien upprepar sig visserligen inte exakt sådan den varit. Att vi minns vår historia ger oss inget verkl

President Niinistö deltar i arktiskt forum i Ryssland1.4.2019 15:05:54 EESTTiedote

Republikens presidents kansli Pressmeddelande 6/2019 1.4.2019 Republikens president Sauli Niinistö medverkar den 9 april 2019 vid ett internationellt arktiskt forum i S:t Petersburg. President Niinistö håller ett anförande vid forumets huvudsession. Dessutom har han i samband med forumet ett bilateralt möte med Rysslands president Vladimir Putin. Forumet Arctic: Territory of Dialogue arrangeras nu för femte gången med målet att främja samarbete och hållbar tillväxt i den arktiska regionen. I år är temat för forumet den arktiska regionen som ett hav av möjligheter. President Niinistö har tidigare deltagit i forumet 2017 i Archangelsk och 2013 i Salechard. De arktiska frågorna är aktuella för Finland eftersom landet är ordförande i Arktiska rådet fram till maj 2019.

President Niinistö to attend Arctic Forum in Russia1.4.2019 15:05:45 EESTTiedote

Office of the President of the Republic Press release 6/2019 1 April 2019 President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö will travel to St. Petersburg to attend the International Arctic Forum on 9 April 2019. President Niinistö will deliver a speech at the plenary session of the Arctic Forum. In addition, President Niinistö will have a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin in connection with the Forum. The ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ Forum is held now for the fifth time. Its objective is to promote cooperation and sustainable development in the Arctic Region. Theme of this year’s Forum is ‘The Arctic: An Ocean of Opportunities’. President Niinistö also attended the Forum in Arkhangelsk in 2017 and in Salekhard in 2013. Arctic affairs are also topical in Finland due to the country’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council until May 2019.

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