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Press Releases, 8/22/2011

Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Stubb at the Annual Meeting of Finnish Heads of Mission: A new approach must be applied to promoting Finland’s economic interests

Press release 207/2011
22 August 2011

“Finland, Europe and the entire Western world must adapt to the rapid evolution of the global economy and international politics. Promotion of Finns’ interests now calls for more work than ever. Emerging economies and businesses in these countries have ever more self-confidence to challenge us. Competition for power of influence and for markets is toughening. Developing countries may play by different rules than we are used to, and contacts between their States and business world are often close. A new approach must be applied to promoting Finland’s economic interests,” Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb said when addressing the Annual Meeting of Finnish Heads of Mission today, 22 August.

Photo: Eero Kuosmanen

Minister Stubb’s aim is to meet at least 50 Finnish enterprise leaders representing different sectors and different-sized companies by Christmas in order to hear their views and wishes as to how government could do a better job in looking after the interests of Finnish enterprises abroad. At the request of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, Minister Stubb has launched preparation of the action plan on economic external relations mentioned in the Government Programme and has invited Matti Alahuhta, President and CEO of KONE Corporation, to be the chairman of this work. Minister Stubb also hoped that the ambassadors would make their views from the field available to the working group.

He stressed that Finland’s rapid increase in prosperity in past decades has been grounded in openness, international cooperation and problem-solving together with other countries. This is a long observed policy in Finland’s foreign policy and economic relations that has not become outdated.

At present the prolonged debt crisis in Europe already affects the international position of the EU and impressions of the Union. “How we are able to stabilise our public economy and the timetable at which we are able to do so are pivotal questions for the Union. The stability of the Euro zone is perhaps more important to us than to any other EU country. In the EU’s economic policy, it is important to us that the solutions devised ensure the stability of the Euro zone but encourage and even compel all Euro zone countries to maintain a good economy. The three key megatrends to the debt crisis are crisis, discipline and growth. The acute crisis must be dealt with, and budget discipline and the preconditions for economic growth must be strengthened,” Stubb pointed out.

“Openness and the ability to act in an international economy are the oxygen that Finland breathes,” Stubb said and reminded the ambassadors gathered in Helsinki that promoting the commercial interests of Finland and Finnish enterprises is one of their main tasks.

Additional information: Veera Heinonen, Director of Communications, tel. +358 9 1605 5800

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Updated 8/22/2011

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