President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and Federal President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier met in Berlin on Thursday, 11 May 2017. Topics of discussion included international relations, the overall future of Europe, immigration and refugee policy, and Finland’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
During his visit President Niinistö stressed that security issues must be raised to the top of Europe’s development agenda. “The union could send citizens the strong message that Europe is taking care of their security. Security must be at the forefront of European development. In the European debate, Germany is an important partner for Finland because we have very similar ideas,” said President Niinistö.
President Niinistö and Federal President Steinmeier also had a broad-based discussion of youth affairs and the future of democracy. The presidents consider it important that means be actively sought of preventing social exclusion among young people – this would be the best way of promoting unity within countries.
President Niinistö thanked Federal President of Germany Steinmeier for his arms-control initiative during his period as Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hoped that it would continue to make progress.
“Finland, on the other hand, has been seeking ways of improving flight safety over the Baltic Sea. These are small, important steps towards reducing tension. That is why President Steinmeier’s wider initiative for the development of arms control is also important,” President Niinistö pointed out.
On the morning of the visit, President Niinistö met Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag. The issue of how much time and resources would be diverted from the development of Europe by the Brexit negotiations loomed large in the conversation between the two. However, President Niinistö and President Lammert also view recent news from Europe as somewhat positive in terms of the region's development.
During his visit, the President of the Republic also met with former Federal President Joachim Gauck. In addition, in honour of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and Finland’s centenary year, President Niinistö visited the Luther Effect exhibition on the history of protestantism.