Devout Soini heads for Pope meet-and-greet during Italy trip

The visit marks 100 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

File picture of Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue), August 2017 / Credit: Ulkoministeriö

Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue) is visiting Rome and the Vatican this week, marking 100 years of diplomatic relations between Finland and Italy.

On the agenda are a number of official meetings for bilateral talks, including with his Italian counterpart, foreign minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi. The pair will be discussing migration, Finland’s EU Arctic Council Chairmanship, and Finland’s upcoming presidency of the European Union among other subjects.

A spiritual highlight of the trip for Soini, a devout Roman Catholic, will undoubtedly be the chance for a brief meeting with Pope Francis during an event the Pontiff is hosting about protecting children in the church.

Soini has often put his faith at the centre of his politics, and not without controversy. In the last year he sent congratulations when a measure to legalise abortion in Argentina was defeated; criticized an Irish referendum which legalised abortions; and faced a no-confidence vote in parliament after attending an anti-abortion rally while on an official visit to Canada.

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