President Niinistö was inaugurated for his second term of office this afternoon in a snowy Helsinki.
After giving a speech to MPs inside parliament, Niinistö was met with strong winds and driving snow as he walked down the steps of the building to inspect an honour guard of Finnish troops, as a military band played. A few dozen members of the public braved the weather to watch the ceremonies.
Strengthening The EU And UN
In his inaugural address to parliament, President Niinistö said the role of the UN and EU must be strengthened. He said we need a European Union which also acts as a security community that speaks with one voice.
“Finland is also an actor in this work, not an observer” said President Niinistö, who was accompanied to parliament to take his oath of office by the heavily pregnant first lady Jenni Haukio.
The President said that dialogue between East and West was indispensible, and that ‘West’ doesn’t just mean the USA or NATO, but also the EU. Similarly he said that the ‘East’ isn’t just Russia but includes China too.
Looking to the future, Niinistö mentioned great challenges that humanity is facing, like poverty, climate change and the status of women.
“Combating climate change is the most important issue in the coming years” said the president.
According to Niinistö, Finland has many good things to offer, but they are not available to everyone. He said the President can’t fall into a habit of only meeting societies ‘winners’, because winners don’t need a president. The President said he must be able to stand alongside Finns in times of distress and loss as well.
After inspecting the honour guard outside parliament, President Niinistö continued the Presidential Palace to greet members of the public, the government, senior officials and the diplomatic core.