Thursday February 22, 2024

Finnish, Swedish PMs discuss eastern border situation

Published : 28 Nov 2023, 00:37

  DF Report
Prime Minister Orpo and Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson spoke at a press conference after a meeting in Helsinki on Monday. Photo: Finnish government by Lauri Heikkinen.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson on Monday met in Helsinki and discussed various bilateral and international issues including the present situation of the influx of asylum seekers from Russia at eastern border.

In addition to their bilateral meeting, the prime ministers held a joint meeting with the foreign and defence ministers of Finland and Sweden, said a government press release.

Their discussions focused on NATO cooperation and Finland’s experiences as a member of the Alliance. Along with Prime Ministers Orpo and Kristersson, the meeting was attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen and Minister of Defence Antti Häkkänen and their Swedish colleagues, Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström and Minister of Defence Pål Jonson.

Prime Minister Orpo stressed the importance of even closer contacts between Finland and Sweden, especially on security issues.

“Sweden’s NATO membership is and has consistently been a key priority for Finland. NATO membership lays the foundation for even closer cooperation between our countries. I am very pleased with the ongoing cooperation between Finland and Sweden in the defence sector,” said Orpo.

Orpo and Kristersson noted that their countries have similar views on a variety of issues, such as the mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework, which will be on the agenda at the December European Council.

They stressed the importance of improving the EU’s competitiveness and exerting joint influence on initiatives that are important for Finnish and Swedish industry, such as the EU Packaging Directive.

“The most important thing is to continue supporting Ukraine and ensure sufficient funding for that support. At the same time, we must strengthen European security and the EU economy. The EU must be a more active and competitive geopolitical player,” Orpo added.

News agency Xinhua adds: For his part, Kristersson said the EU external border is "no longer a matter for Italy, Greece and Spain" only, but also a concern for the Nordics. He expressed strong support for Finland's efforts in protecting the EU border, saying, "We have a common interest."