Press statement by Minister Hoekstra in Helsinki

Press statement by Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra during his visit in Helsinki, 7 March 2022.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Hyvää päivää.

At the height of the Winter War of 1940, Winston Churchill praised Finnish resistance to Stalin. He said: ‘Sublime in the jaws of peril, Finland shows what free men can do. The service rendered by Finland to mankind is magnificent.’

Today, as Russia has renewed its military aggression – this time against Ukraine – we are all reminded of those words.

Like Finland then, Ukraine now is showing what a free people can do.

Minister Haavisto and I have spoken at length about the war in Ukraine and the broader security situation in Europe that concerns us all.

It is with great  pleasure that we had this conversation, and to reaffirm the friendship between our two countries at this difficult time.

Few could have predicted the extent of aggression against Ukraine. We are all deeply shocked by what we see on the news.

It gives us pause, and forces us to re-evaluate our relations with Russia, as well as the entire European security architecture.

Finland’s thirteen-hundred-kilometer border – and longstanding relations – with Russia give you a unique perspective.

We can learn from the impressive balance that Finland has long managed to maintain between dialogue and diplomacy.

You have always kept the lines of communication open. Which is, even in these difficult times, essential.

NATO and the EU can learn from your experience.

Today, more than ever, we stand united as European partners.

Finland and the Netherlands are like-minded countries.

We share fundamental values like human rights, the rule of law, and the belief that peaceful trade brings nations closer together.

In the dark days that have passed, and the darker days which may still lie ahead, we must remember the strength of those values.

We must continue to believe that they will ultimately triumph over violence.

That is the belief that brings belief that brings us together today.

Thank you.