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Prime Minister Petteri Orpo emphasises European security in speech to European Parliament

Government Communications Department
Publication date 13.3.2024 13.59 | Published in English on 13.3.2024 at 15.37
Press release
Prime Minister Orpo having a speech at the European Parliament plenary
Photo: European Parliament

In his speech at the plenary session of the European Parliament, Prime Minister Petteri Orpo underlined the importance of strengthening the Union internally, securing its borders and providing stronger support to Ukraine for the future of Europe. The Prime Minister addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday 13 March as part of the “This is Europe” series of debates. During his two-day visit, the Prime Minister also met with President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola and with several commissioners and Finnish MEPs.

Prime Minister Orpo’s speech focused especially on two themes: strengthening the EU’s strategic competitiveness and improving comprehensive security. 

“We have returned to the very fundaments of European integration: promoting peace and defending our values. The ongoing war in Ukraine is not just a conflict on our continent’s borders; it is a stark reminder of the fragility of our peace,” said Prime Minister Petteri Orpo.

The Prime Minister described how Finland has rightly been recognised as a superpower of preparedness and offered to share Finland’s experiences of comprehensive security.                   

“We have developed comprehensive strategies that cover all sectors of society, from public to private. Our approach to preparedness includes not only physical defences but also societal resilience, which is critical in facing both conventional and hybrid threats,” Prime Minister Orpo said, adding that Finland’s model of preparedness could offer valuable lessons for the European Union as a whole.    
“This is why we ask the Commission to develop and publish the first EU Strategy for a Preparedness Union. The strategy should be based on a whole-of-society approach, where the needs and contributions of all policy sectors are taken into account. We are not suggesting another policy document; we are calling for an innovative blueprint that ensures the European Union’s resilience in the face of complex challenges,” Prime Minister Orpo continued. 

Prime Minister Orpo also stressed the need to increase and speed up the provision of military support to Ukraine. There is no room for pessimism.

“Russia is evidently preparing for a long conflict with the West, and represents a permanent and existential military threat to Europe. If we, as a united Europe, fail to respond sufficiently to this challenge, the coming years will be filled with danger and the looming threat of attack,” said Prime Minister Orpo.

Before the speech, Prime Minister Orpo had a meeting with President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola where he emphasised that especially in the current security situation, it is important for the European Parliament to work swiftly in appointing the next President of the Commission after the European Parliament elections this summer.

On Tuesday 12 March, Prime Minister Orpo met with Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean and highlighted Finnish transport projects applying for EU support, which are also important for security of supply. 

Tuesday’s programme also included a meeting with Finnish MEPs, where discussions highlighted the desire to further intensify cooperation between MEPs and the Government.

In addition, Prime Minister Orpo met with Chair of the European People’s Party (EPP) Group Manfred Weber and attended the group’s meeting. The EPP, in which Finland’s National Coalition Party is a member, is the largest political group in the European Parliament.

Inquiries: Tuomas Tikkanen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 523 5768 and Anne Sjöholm, Head of Communications for EU Affairs, tel. +358 40 537 07 33, Prime Minister’s Office