The presidency of the 47th international Model European Parliament session welcomes everyone warmly to the most Northern capital in Europe, Helsinki. In early November we will be gathering in Finland; the land of thousand lakes, home of Moomin, Santa Claus and Nokia, the land of great education and in 2017 a birthday girl. In 2017 Finland celebrates the centenary anniversary of its independence. In 1917 after the October Revolution Finland gained its independence from Russia. Though independent, Finland came to face with a bloody civil war in 1918 and later in the Second World War Finland had to fight for its independence against the Soviet Union. In the Cold War Finland came to be known for its close ties with the Soviet Union and the phenomenon Finlandization.
Now in 2017 you´ll see a Finland that is a part of the global market. Thanks to the European Union, which Finland has been a member of since 1995 and European integration, Finland has come a long way from what it used to be. Being a part of the EU has enabled Finland to become a country facing outwards.
Now the European Union is facing many challenges. On its way to ratification CETA is being discussed in parliaments all around Europe. How will we shape our relations with our North American partners? Negotiations with the UK will have started and the EU must find a solution with the UK that keeps some meaningful options open. No easy solutions are available, but there is no choice but to carry on trying. The refugee crisis might have calmed down however it´s far from over and the root cause of it, the Syrian Civil war has all but ended. The war itself has given rise to a multitude of problems: an increased amount of terror attacks that have lately brought suffering and fear to Europe. Issues regarding immigration from Africa are also to be dealt with as more and more people from sub-Saharan Africa will want to immigrate to Europe. The EU´s dependency on Russian natural gas is still a problematic issue especially now as there are plans to build Nord Stream II. These problems mentioned are just some of those the EU and we must deal with. And the EU´s ability to solve these problems is weakened by disagreements among member states.
Some of these issues will be up for debate in the MEP FIN 17 session. You´ll get to prepare your resolutions, lobby for them and in the General Assembly debate the resolutions and vote on them.
Hopefully you´ll all find solutions that everyone of you can get behind. I hope all of you are willing to take on the challenge presented to you with a lot of zest, creative thought and will to participate in this unique youth European parliamentary event.
And of course you will also meet lots of young people from around Europe. You´ll get to socialize, share and enjoy Europe’s rich cultural diversity, have fun together and work for a better Europe.
Of course you´ll also get to see the lovely Helsinki, though unfortunately it might be a bit dark and cold when we gather in Helsinki in November. But nevertheless I´m sure you´ll enjoy your stay. As the hosts we will do our best to make you feel at home.
The presidency warmly welcomes you all to the MEP FIN 17 session in Helsinki.
On behalf of the Presidency