Your Excellencies, distinguished participants, dear Nordic friends
Nordic cooperation is showcased excellently through our joint presence at the Expo – a model for pragmatic regional cooperation which started already in the 1950s. It embraces areas from grass root activities and culture to co-operation in higher learning and R&D.
Working together, the Nordic countries have been able to achieve more than each of our countries could have done alone. We have learnt from each other. We have together developed solutions which work in our societies. The solutions are not always identical. They are adapted to the circumstances of each of our societies, but they share the same ideas and are based on the same key values.
The world is in constant change and different social developments, such as globalisation, population growth and climate change place new demands on all of us. Today the emphasis of our co-operation is on successfully meeting the global challenges we face.
Two examples of more tangible areas of co-operation are the development of business clusters and the promotion of user-driven innovation, both in companies and in society as a whole. Another example is our common research programmes related to climate change, environment and energy.
In many respects the Nordic model has been used as an inspiration when other countries have looked for solutions to challenges they have encountered. Perhaps the most referred solutions relate to our universal welfare systems with a strong link between welfare and labour market policies.
We need to adapt to changing realities if we want to maintain the ranking of the Nordic countries as one of the top regions when it comes to conditions for business. Thus, we represent a region of the world where both living and doing business is turning green in our active search for sustainable living and growth.
The theme ”Better City, Better Life” we find most topical. Planning and building more eco-efficient and green cities now and in the future is a highly effective way to combat climate change, to reduce poverty and social problems, enhance the stability of society, and create the foundation for favourable economic development. It is therefore that the Nordic Day at the Expo is focusing on energy and climate, two highly relevant issues for our cities where we think that we the Nordic Countries have something to give.
Next year Finland will take over the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers from Denmark. We look forward to branding the Nordic co-operation especially in taking on the climate challenge.
Finland at the EXPO
Let me move on from Nordic co-operation to the role of my home country, Finland, at the World Expo.
Participation to the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai is a significant investment in Finnish-Chinese relations. It happens against the background of the 60th anniversary of our relations in 2010. And we see Expo 2010 as a great opportunity to further strengthen and expand relations with our Chinese partners.
The themes Finland has chosen to highlight at the Expo are well-being, competence and the environment. We know how to use energy efficiently and strive to find new ways of saving it. We create technologies that change the way how people connect and interact with each other. We build our success on the human capital that is increasingly important in tomorrow’s world.
I am glad to note the large Finnish participation at the Expo. There are more than 80 participants representing business, cities and organizations. They are here to present their solutions, technologies and ideas to create better cities here in China as well as all around the world.
The Finland Pavilion is called “Kirnu”, “Giant’s Kettle” in English and “Binghu” in Chinese. It takes its main inspiration from the nature. At the same time, it is an example of modern Finnish architecture, design and sustainable building. I hope that you will find it inspirational and interesting.
I am sure that the Shanghai World Expo 2010 will be a great and memorable success.
I wish you most welcomed to the Finland Pavilion and the opening venue of our joint event, the Nordic Day at the Shanghai Expo 2010.