Skip to content

Ukraine and climate on agenda as Haavisto heads to Luxembourg, Niinistö to Iceland

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) discusses Russia’s military aggression with EU colleagues on Monday before the president takes up the topic in Reykjavík.

Icelandic President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Finland's Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki in 2017. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva
Yle News

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) heads to Luxembourg on Monday for a meeting of EU foreign ministers focusing on Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.

“The ministers will discuss Russia’s illegal attack on Ukraine during a new phase of the war," said Haavisto in a statement.

"Strikes in cities outside war zones, with missiles indiscriminately hitting civilian targets, can be considered terrorist acts under international humanitarian law. The EU must further increase its support to Ukraine, and our agenda will definitely also include additional sanctions against Russia,” he added.

The Foreign Affairs Council will also discuss China, where President Xi Jinping said on Sunday that Beijing would never renounce right to use force over Taiwan.

"Finland considers it important to strengthen the EU’s resilience and emphasises the unity of the Union in relation to China," the ministry said.

The ministers will also discuss other current issues such as anti-government protests in Iran that began in mid-September and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), which starts in three weeks in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Niinistö to discuss security issues in Iceland

Ukraine and the climate will also be on the agenda as President Sauli Niinistö begins a state visit to Iceland on Wednesday.

Niinistö and his Icelandic counterpart Guðni Th. Jóhannesson are to hold talks focusing on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the general security situation in Europe, Nordic cooperation and Finland’s Nato accession.

Finland and neighbouring Sweden applied five months ago to join the military alliance. Iceland and the two other Nordic states, Norway and Denmark, have been members of Nato since it was founded in 1949. Last week Niinistö made an official visit to Norway.

Also taking part in the state visit will be Nordic Cooperation Minister Thomas Blomqvist of the Swedish People's Party.

Niinistö's spouse Jenni Haukio, who has published several books of poetry, will take part in a literary event with Jóhannesson's spouse Eliza Reid, a Canadian-Icelandic writer. Haukio is completing a memoir of her decade as Finland's "first lady," to be published next spring.

On Thursday, the two presidential couples will tour natural sites such as the Langjökull glacier to learn about the impacts of climate change in Iceland.

Finnish representation at COP27 unclear

Niinistö's office has not yet said whether he will take part in the UN climate summit, which takes place from 6 to 18 November.

Around 90 heads of state have so far confirmed their attendance at COP27, Egyptian officials said last week. The Washington Post reports that US President Joe Biden is expected to attend.

The government has not yet said who will represent Finland at the conference besides Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo (Green).

Haavisto, who also served as Green chair and as a former UN Environment Programme official, has frequently attended UN climate conferences. He is the long-serving minister in the current cabinet, having been a government minister for nearly eight and a half years since becoming Europe's first Green environment minister in 1995.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia