Prime Minister Juha Sipilä met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in St Petersburg on 29 January. The meeting of the premiers focussed on topical bilateral relations, including matters related to trade and commerce and the economy. The situation in the Ukraine, the relations between the EU and Russia and the international situation in broader terms were also discussed during the meeting.
- My aim has been to meet my colleagues in all our neighbouring countries in the course of my first year in office. The discussions my colleague Prime Minister Medvedev and I had were open and positive, said Prime Minister Sipilä.
Though trade between our two countries has dropped significantly, Russia remains an important trading partner for Finland. Russians also still constitute a major tourist group in Finland.
The Prime Ministers also discussed the current border situation in their meeting. From the point of view of Finland, Prime Minister Sipilä expressed his concern about developments at the northern border crossing points.
- The long border between Finland and Russia and its smooth functioning has facilitated busy and active interaction between both our citizens and our businesses. Finland has always ensured effective management and security of its borders. By the same token, we also ensure responsible management of the EU's external border, said Prime Minister Sipilä.
- The closing of illegal immigration channels is in the best interest of both countries. By working together we can avoid the generation of different types of problems and threats to the internal security of either nation. We both agreed that we must swiftly find a sustainable solution to this situation. The long-standing good dialogue between our competent authorities will continue, Sipilä said.
The premiers also discussed the situation in Ukraine. Prime Minister Sipilä noted that Finland is fully committed to the EU's common foreign policy, including the sanctions stemming from the Ukraine situation. The implementation of the Minsk agreement is in a key role in the relations between the EU and Russia.
This was the first meeting between Prime Ministers Sipilä and Medvedev. The prime ministers of Finland and Russia last met in October 2013.
Inquiries: Anna-Kaisa Heikkinen, Special Adviser (International Affairs), tel. +358 40 748 3867, Prime Minister's Office and Terhi Hakala, Director-General, tel. +358 295 351 300, Ministry for Foreign Affairs