“What does independence mean to you?” President Sauli Niinistö asks in his message to the Finnish expatriate communities. “This is a common question, which many Finns are asked on our Independence Day. And it is a question that we can all take a moment to consider.”
Today, Finland celebrates its 99th Independence Day. Various events and demonstrations are arranged along the day. The celebrations culminate to the president’s Independence Day reception at the Presidential Palace in the evening.
In his message to the Finnish expatriates President Niinistö reminds us that in today’s world, peace and stability cannot be taken for granted by everyone because of the uncertainty, which is affecting the world. “Each and every Finn has the privilege of celebrating and honoring our country’s independence. The sixth of December is also a mark of respect for all those who have defended and nurtured our independence.”
Niinistö says that last year was another in which conflicts around the world and instability intensified. “We need to understand that such instability is not a passing phenomenon – we will have to live with it for some time to come. Such times require that we step up cooperation within the EU and within the UN.”
According to Niinistö, Finland must contribute to calming the situation together with other countries. “In a continuously changing world, we cannot achieve absolute safety, but through cooperation, we can do much to push the cycle in a more peaceful direction. In this task, every initiative tending towards peace is important.”
[alert type=blue ]”Finnishness knows no bounds – our country and people still need their defenders and advocates, both in Finland and abroad. That is a task that we all share.”[/alert]
Niinistö looks forward to next year, to the centenary of Finland’s independence. “The theme of our centenary year is “Together”, as will become evident both in Finland and abroad. As our centenary theme suggests, this celebration is for all Finns and friends of Finland,” Niinistö says. “And rightly so, since we Finns live in many different parts of the world. Many find it easy to move between countries and grow into different environments. However, Finnishness knows no bounds – our country and people still need their defenders and advocates, both in Finland and abroad. That is a task that we all share.”
Niinistö reminds us that “Finland is among the world’s top countries according to a range of international measures. “Studies have shown that Finland is among the best performers in the world based on criteria such as honesty, innovation, literacy, success in education and opportunities for girls. We have also been deemed the world’s most stable country. This provides a strong starting point for celebrating our independence,” Niinistö says.
“You, expatriate Finns, are important ambassadors for Finland, spreading the word about the uniqueness of our country. Our strengths can seem self-evident when viewed from close up, but they deserve to be highlighted in our words and thoughts!”