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President of Finland Alexander Stubb said at the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) that small nations must make their voices heard, and use their voice together with the allies and partners in the EU and NATO.

Stubb said in his speech that he had been extremely happy when Estonia had joined the European Union and the euro, and equally pleased, though a bit jealous, when Estonia had joined NATO. “Within a few years of independence, you had actually become more integrated to Western institutions than Finland, or any other Nordic country for that matter. This was of course good news for the security of the Baltic Sea in general, and Finland in particular. Your membership in NATO during those 20 years also gave us protection. At the same time, our strong and independent defence brought stability to the region,” he said, adding that Finland was very lucky to have Estonia as a neighbour.

According to Stubb, Finland was neutral during the Cold War, not out of free will or ideology, but out of necessity. “We did not have a choice. When we had a choice, we immediately joined the EU. When there was no other choice, we became NATO members. Better late than never. And rest assured, we will do our part in the Alliance. We understand the responsibilities that come with doubling NATO’s border with Russia,” Stubb said and stated that Finland’s defence capability strengthened the northeastern part of Europe. “That, combined with our concept of comprehensive security will continue to strengthen NATO in the Baltic Sea region. And we will do it together with Estonia.”

Stubb pointed out that the post-Cold War era was over, and the order, balance and dynamics of world politics were in flux. In his opinion, European security is marred by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine and a new Iron Curtain divides Europe.

Speaking of Russia, Stubb said that Finland’s base case rested on three simple realities: first, during the next few years Russia would continue to ramp up its military and would reach levels similar to when it began its attack on Ukraine. “Second, nothing indicates that Russia’s foreign policy will change from aggression and expansion to peaceful co-existence. Third, Russia is not in the process of becoming a liberal democracy any time soon. It is against this background that we must make sure that Ukraine wins the war. At the same time, we must continue to make sure that NATO’s defence and deterrence remains strong,” he underlined.

According to the President of Finland, the new normal is that Russia will continue its war of aggression in Ukraine while launching various hybrid operations in an attempt to intimidate and destabilise all EU and NATO countries. “We see this week after week in Europe. The best response is to stay calm and collected, or as I would say, Estonian and Finnish kind of response. The best way to prevent it going any further is to prepare. And that is exactly what we are doing,” he said, and added that, in the short term, we must continue to give Ukraine financial and military support; in the medium term, we must help Ukraine to achieve a just peace, and in the long term, we must make sure that Ukraine would become a fully fledged member of both the EU and NATO.

In his speech, Stubb quoted President Lennart Meri, who said that small countries could also affect the course of history, or at least they absolutely must try to do so, and in the world, no one would care about small nations if they did not themselves state their own intentions loud and clear. “I think his words should function as a guideline for the role of Estonia and Finland in the world. Small nations must make their voices heard. But, most importantly, we are now using our voice together with our allies and partners in Europe, the EU and NATO. It is important that we support each other, take care of each other and defend each other,” he said.

Stubb is on a state visit to Estonia at the invitation of President of Estonia Alar Karis. The visit will last until Wednesday. Besides Tallinn, Stubb will also visit Tartu. The visit focuses on the relations between Estonia and Finland, security and defence cooperation, security of the Baltic Sea region, Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine  and supporting Ukraine.

Verbatim record (in Estonian)

Photos (Erik Peinar / Chancellery of the Riigikogu)

Video recording in Estonian and in English

Riigikogu Press Service
Karin Kangro
+372 631 6356, +372 520 0323
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]