Pahor said he was content that Finland would take over the EU presidency in the first half of the year, meaning in the period after the EU election that will be marked by a complex process of a transformation of the bloc’s institutions and their leadership.
“I find Finland to have a kind of prudent, balanced politics that is trying to find those things in Europe that we hold in common,” Pahor told the press after the meeting.
Niinistö spoke of the need to find an original European spirit, arguing views can differ but results will still come if there is a shared spirit.
As regards the EU’s future, Pahor said Europe first needed to find a solution to Brexit and migration and that trust in European leadership would increase if it is found with a joint approach and in a way that benefits all.
“At the same time we must not forget the more strategic questions,” Pahor added, singling out EU enlargement and the Western Balkans.
The Finnish president meanwhile also highlighted the importance of tackling climate change, saying Finland was trying to serve as an example, as this was the only way to credibly urge joint action.
The EU should also act this way, he argued, being critical of the EU losing its voice in international affairs and failing to be actively involved in the solving of crises.
Niinistö began a two-day official visit today upon Pahor’s invitation. He also met Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Parliament Speaker Dejan Židan.
Niinistö and Židan discussed the main points of Finland’s EU Council presidency, which will begin on 1 July. The Finnish president listed climate change as one of the priority topics of the presidency, saying that measures protecting the environment should be sped up.
He described security as another important issue, adding that Finland would also focus on business topics and the issue of sustainable growth, said the National Assembly.
Moreover, the speaker and the president talked about the EU future, Brexit, the future of the Western Balkans as seen by the EU and the current political affairs in both countries.
On Friday, Pahor and Niinistö will visit Suha, a village where a Finnish-Slovenian energy storage project is being developed, and the inauguration of a bench of friendship in Planica, adjacent to the ski-jumping hills.