Prime Minister Rinne at the Summer Day Festival: ‘The World Needs Trailblazers, and Finland is Ready for This’
Tommi and his son Elliot, 2, from Espoo, enjoying the sauna at the shore of the Töölö Bay in Helsinki on July 8, 2019. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today
Töölö Bay is the oasis of Helsinki center, and today, to mark the opening of Finland’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, its green surroundings turned into a festive playground unseen before.
The distance around the bay is 2.2 kilometers, very popular among runners, joggers and walkers.
For the next 180 days, the kilometers equal money.
The earth’s circumference is about 40,000 kilometers, or 18,182 times around the Töölö Bay.
Starting today, everyone who walks, runs or jogs around the bay can accrue kilometers worth a journey around the world to the joint odometer. (You can mark this with an HSL card or, for example, with a mobile phone.)
If people manage to accrue a sufficient number of kilometers in six months, then Helsinki will make a donation.
“[Then] we will use the 50,000 euros that were reserved to the costs of our guests (various EU minister meetings) to protect the Baltic Sea,” said Mayor Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki in his opening speech.
Prime Minister Antti Rinne at the festival by the Töölö Bay. Rinne said that the biggest common challenge to humankind is climate change. “This is why in combating climate change the time of a ‘yes, but’ policy is over. The EU must lead the way in the work to combat climate change.” Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today
Prime Minister Antti Rinne held a speech where he reminded the listeners that “a strong EU is very much of interest of small countries.”
“We have an excellent opportunity to influence the future of Europe—a future that must be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable,” he said and continued, “I wish to remind you that the EU is not about formal speeches and difficult jargon but, first and foremost, it deals with matters that impact on people’s everyday lives. The focus of European cooperation must always be on the people and their wishes and expectations.”
As an example, Rinne highlighted the Helsinki Cup, a football tournament for boys and girls, which also kicks off today with nearly 1,400 teams and around 20 different nationalities.
“These young players of the present and future are the ones we must think about when making decisions about Europe’s future,” Rinne said. “For the future of our children and young people, it is important for the EU to take the lead in finding solutions to the big questions faced by humankind. The world needs trailblazers, and Finland is ready for this.”
Mayor Vapaavuori gave the opening kick, which was blocked by the goalie, Frank Ahlgren, 8. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today