Prime Minister Sipilä and Prime Minister of Latvia Kučinskis met in Helsinki

Government Communications Department 12.5.2017 12.35
Press release 231/2017

The Prime Minister of Latvia Māris Kučinskis visited Helsinki on Friday 12 May on invitation of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. The Prime Ministers discussed the bilateral relations between the countries and regional cooperation, in particular, energy security and the progress of the Rail Baltica project. They also talked about topical EU affairs, including the Brexit process and the EU’s climate and energy objectives.

The meeting started by honouring Finland 100 - the centenary of Finland’s independence. The Prime Ministers participated in a Finland 100 jubilee forest planting ceremony in Paloheinä, Helsinki, where they planted a seedling of a Spruce of the Future together with the Mayor of Helsinki Jussi Pajunen and Maria Lohela, Speaker of the Parliament of Finland.

The symbolic meaning of the trees was also discussed. Prime Minister Sipilä noted that he was highly satisfied with the constructive cooperation with Latvia and other forested countries in the negotiations on the implementation of the EU’s climate and energy objectives. He expressed his concern about the way the land use sector is proposed to be included in the climate policy of the EU. Finland is particularly worried about the way forests are to be handled.

“Finland is hoping to continue the good cooperation with Latvia in the discussions on the draft Regulation in order that the outcome is a balanced one, also taking account of the objectives of the most forested countries. The EU must achieve a shared understanding of the whole climate package as soon as possible”, Prime Minister Sipilä says.

He pointed out that Latvia is an important partner for Finland in many fields: EU affairs, security issues, trade, and contacts between the citizens.

“There are about 400 Finnish-based companies in Latvia, and clean technology is a good example of a sector where even closer cooperation may help both Finnish and Latvian enterprises to take their innovations to the world”, Prime Minister Sipilä says.

From the Finnish perspective the joint Rail Baltica project of the Baltic countries, Poland and Finland is the largest and most significant transport sector project within the EU. The project is highly important for the Finnish industry and exports as well.

“After the somewhat slow start, the Rail Baltica project must be implemented in a comprehensive way as a single project so that the rail connection will be built as soon as possible, at reasonable cost, and with the best available resources”, Prime Minister Sipilä says. 

With respect to the Brexit negotiations Finland and Latvia have the same priorities: unity of the EU, securing the position of the citizens, and obligations of Great Britain to honour the economic commitments it has made as a Union member.

Inquiries: Riikka Pakarinen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 580 0833 and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 0733, Prime Minister’s Office.