Relations between Finland and Sweden are important. We will continue to develop our competitiveness, drive European cooperation towards entrepreneurship and innovation, and together, we will make our contribution to a developed and enhanced security regime in our part of the world, write Jaana Tuominen, President of Confederation of Finnish Industries and Fredrik Persson, President of Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
When the President of Finland comes to Sweden on a state visit, it underlines the closeness of our two countries. Contacts have always been frequent and broad, but this time the visit takes place under uniquely grave circumstances. We share a joint responsibility in the challenging situation, and there is also a clear willingness on both sides to do what is required.
President Niinistö’s visit in Sweden is a reminder of our joint history, but above all, of our joint future. As representatives of the business communities in Finland and Sweden, we wish to express our support for the work to strengthen Nordic, European and transatlantic cooperation. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought us closer together than ever before. When the European security order is overturned, we must build a new one, together.
For obvious reasons, security policy now tops both our countries’ political agendas.Both the Confederation of Finnish Industries and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise have concluded that our respective countries should join NATO. Our peace and independence are based on mutual cooperation. With Finnish and Swedish membership, all Nordic countries would together form a strong Nordic bloc that could offer the entire Baltic Sea region the security needed for a well-functioning and strong business community.
Close ties between Finnish and Swedish companies provide a strength in these times. We are each other’s most important trading partners, and businesses in Finland and Sweden have clearly supported the sanctions against Russia. Our integration across the Baltic Sea continues to be driven by shared values and a matched industrial structure, but also by opportunities presented by cooperation at EU level. . The relationship between our two countries is a shining example of real-world realisation of the EU Single Market..
The State visit is also about broader and longer-term common interests in the development of the Nordic region and the EU. Political decision-makers have an important role to play in ensuring that cooperation progresses in a way that strengthens our competitiveness, particularly in terms of contribution of a dynamic and innovative business community.
“On the larger and most crucial issues, the existing consensus is greater and more important than ever.”
The war has shown that the EU can also act as a strong voice in foreign and security policy. More than anything, the power of that voice is based on the fact that together, we represent a large and competitive economy. It is this competitiveness and the size of the economy that can make sanctions forceful towards the countries against which they are directed. It is therefore important that we do not draw the wrong conclusions; it is Russia that should be isolated, not Europe.
Alongside the pandemic, the brutal war has reinforced debate over EU’s need to secure its own capacities and capabilities in strategic areas. However, obstructions to trade and a lower degree of globalisation are not the answer to this challenge. Our strategic capabilities have to be built together with other democracies around the world. It is also important that the link between these strategic capabilities and our ability to innovate remains clear. Having an industry and research environment driving technological development will become increasingly important to act both clearly and independently in other areas.
Nordic companies are at the global forefront of green and digital transitions. Our exports play a key role in delivering the global solution. Those companies that can compete, invest properly in research and development and have access to global markets will determine the role we can play.
Good and bad times have come and gone over our longshared history, but what remains is the close relationship between our two countries. On the larger and most crucial issues, consensus is more important than ever. This applies to security policy, but also more broadly to relations between our countries and our ability to exert a positive influence in the EU.
Sweden and Finland have a responsibility to develop the whole of the Nordic region and the EU, alongside our partners. Our common views on competitiveness, climate change, international trade and the importance of free enterprise are also shared by others.
Relations between Finland and Sweden have always been important, and they will remain so in future. We will continue to develop our competitiveness and drive European cooperation towards entrepreneurship and innovation. Together, we will make our own contribution to a developed and enhanced security order in our area of the world.
Jaana Tuominen, President of Confederation of Finnish Industries
Fredrik Persson, President of Confederation of Swedish Enterprise