HELSINKI – President Niinistö calls for EU unity

The EU might lose its international stature and even face a near existential crisis if it fails to address and solve its internal problems, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö wrote in an article published in various domestic newspapers on Saturday (16 May).

In a post-coronavirus future, the EU should look into three issues, according to Niinistö.

Not only should the EU avoid a North-South divide, but it should also find a balanced approach to share the financial burden and responsibilities within the budgetary framework.

Noting last week’s decision by the German Constitutional Court, which challenged the credibility of the European Central Bank and its authority over national fiscal policy, the president suggested that this could be solved by juridical willpower and open-mindedness.

The president also said that free movement and the Schengen agreement are currently at stake. Showing an understanding of national decisions in an unprecedented situation, he predicted that some imposed travel restrictions may be difficult to dismantle.

As a long-time advocate of a more unified Europe including on matters of defence policy, Niinistö referred to François Heisbourg, the senior adviser for Europe at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and warned that the bloc’s once lost stature would be difficult or even impossible to restore.

In his article, President Niinistö chose to quote former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“What Tony Blair expected from the Union some twenty years ago was less, but something better. Today, we could maybe start by calling for more unified efforts for the interest of all,” he wrote. (Pekka Vänttinen |

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