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Niinistö warns of EU divisions over coronavirus

As Niinistö sees it, the key pressure on EU unity is financial policy.

Sauli Niinist
The president hosts an annual discussion event, usually at his official summer residence near Turku. Image: Matti Porre / Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

The coronavirus is a major challenge for the European Union, warns President Sauli Niinistö in a newspaper op-ed published on Saturday. The EU’s external credibility in the post-corona world depends on its ability to resolve internal problems, he writes.

The EU’s disjointed approach to combating the corona crisis threatens to undermine the whole union’s authority, says Niinistö, calling for unity in decision-making.

As Niinistö sees it, the key pressure on EU unity is financial policy, including the proposed coronabonds or joint debt. The freedom of movement guaranteed by the 1985 Schengen Agreement may also be under threat if member states stick firmly to travel restrictions, he says.

His comments were published in an array of provincial and local newspapers that are part of the Uutissuomalainen consortium.

Blue-ribbon panel to weigh future

Next weekend the president hosts the annual Kultaranta Talks, named after his official summer residence in Naantali. This year's theme is “After corona – What kind of Finland? In what kind of a world?”. Yle will broadcast the event on Sunday evening, 24 May.

Those scheduled to take part include Prime Minister Sanna Marin, European Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, Speaker of Parliament Matti Vanhanen, Nokia chair Risto Siilasmaa, and Risto Pelkonen, the nation’s archiatre or chief physician.

This year there will be no audience at the talks, but the public can participate via chat, WhatsApp and video.

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