EU High Representative Catherine Ashton to visit Helsinki and Rovaniemi
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will visit Finland from 5 to 6 March at the invitation of Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.
In Helsinki, Ashton will have talks with Foreign Minister Tuomioja and Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala. The issues on the agenda will include the same themes associated with the Common EU Foreign and Security Policy the informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers (Gymnich) will address at the end of the week, such as the role of the European External Action Service, human rights and the European security strategy. Other topics to be discussed involve issues related to sustainable development in anticipation of the Rio +20 conference, and topics of current interest, such as the situations in Syria, Iran and Belarus.
High Representative Ashtons itinerary in Helsinki will also include meetings with President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen.
In the afternoon, High Representative Ashton and Foreign Minister Tuomioja will make a visit to Rovaniemi with Arctic issues as the main theme. The programme will include a visit at the Arctic Centre and a meeting with Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi, Chairman of the Sami Parliament, and representatives of the Swedish and Norwegian Sami Parliaments. At the end of the day, the Foreign Minister and the High Representative will be joined by Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, with whom Ashton will transfer from Rovaniemi to Kiiruna, Sweden.
Further information: Susanna Parkkonen, Press Attaché to the Foreign Minister, tel. +358 50 377 5601, and Veikko Kiljunen, Diplomatic Adviser, tel. +358 40 351 9526