Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth met his Finnish counterpart Alexander Stubb and Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja in Helsinki on 16 April. Following their talks he visited a vocational training centre and gave an address at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.
Talking with Alexander Stubb and Erkki Tuomioja, Roth emphasised the close and friendly cooperation between Germany and Finland on European issues. The priority now, he said, was to ensure that Europe emerges stronger from the crisis.
Finland as role model
Finland, the Minister of State went on, was not only a strong and reliable partner, but in many regards also a role model in Europe. Many other countries admired not only its education system, but also the level of gender equality and the country’s inclusive social policies, Roth continued. The Minister of State for Europe also talked about the importance of growth and employment in Europe:
Together we have successfully sought to ensure better protection for our fundamental values. Now we must continue to demonstrate active commitment to growth and employment in Europe in order to strengthen social cohesion.
The two Ministers of State for Europe also discussed the current situation in Ukraine:
We are pulling in the same direction on the Ukraine crisis as well. We want to ensure that Europe continues to speak with one voice in the crisis and that the concerns and fears of all partners are taken into account. There must be no new rifts in Europe.
Common fight against youth unemployment
During a visit to a vocational training centre in Helsinki, Roth spoke to young people and instructors. Afterwards he said:
Youth unemployment remains one of the most pressing problems facing Europe. We must not leave any young people behind. Finland is setting high standards in this regard with its various projects.
Strengthen confidence in Europe
In his address to the renowned Institute of International Affairs, Roth outlined how Finland and Germany can work together for a better Europe in order to restore the citizens’ confidence in the European integration project. Click to read Minister of State Roth’s speech in full.