Tony Öhberg
Prime Minister Sanna Marin (the SDP) meets with his Latvian counterpart, Krišjānis Karinš, at the prime minister’s official residence, Kesäranta, in Helsinki on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The warm rain had just stopped and the clouds separated as the Latvian prime minister, Krišjānis Karinš, stepped out from the black Audi at the Finnish prime minister’s official residence, Kesäranta, on Wednesday afternoon.

Minister Karinš was greeted by the sun and Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

“It looks like you brought the sunshine with you,” Marin said to her smiling counterpart.

Closer cooperation between Finland and the Baltic countries was the main topic for the visit of the Prime Minister of Latvia Krišjānis Karinš.

They also indulged in conversation about global warming.

“We stand here in the middle of February, in Helsinki, and by all accounts, it’s a nice spring day. The sun was just shining and it’s not cold at all,” Karinš said at the press conference after the talks.

“It’s a reminder that climate change is an issue we need to address.”

Climate was one of the main topics in the discussions between the premiers. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Karinš continued by saying that focus on moving the climate agenda forward in Europe also gives clear signals to companies to invest in renewable energy and technology related to energy savings.

“Climate is one of the top priorities in our Government Program,” Prime Minister Marin says in an official statement. I also expect a lot from the cooperation within the EU. The European Green Deal is very important to ensure a fair and just transition towards a carbon-neutral society. The objective of becoming the first carbon-neutral continent in the world is both a challenge and an opportunity for the EU.

Marin continues:

“The Baltic Sea region is highly important for Finland, both for our foreign and security policy and in terms of trade and commerce, growth and environmental protection. The Nordic and Baltic countries are our closest neighbors and key partners for us. Our cooperation is most valuable.”

At the press conference, the ministers were asked about their views on nuclear energy and its future.

“Of course nuclear energy is part of our energy palate. But we need to move toward the renewables. If you look at the energy market, renewable energy is the cheapest we have. So, we also need to build a lot more renewables. We need to electrify our society,” Marin said. “We need an energy palate that is diversified. In Finland, nuclear energy is part of this.”

In Minister Karinš’ opinion, the use of nuclear energy and the “energy mix” should ultimately be based on the decision made by individual countries. “This has to be a nation by nation approach and should not be a top-down decision.”

The Prime Ministers also discussed other current EU affairs, including the negotiations on the multiannual financial framework, Brexit, European Green Deal and climate policy.

During his visit, Prime Minister Karinš also had a meeting with President Sauli Niinistö.