Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, have concluded their first in-person bilateral meeting in Auckland this morning.
The Prime Ministers reiterated how their respective countries shared similar values and reflected on ways to further strengthen the relationship between New Zealand and Finland.
“New Zealand and Finland are longstanding friends. Our relationship is based on similar views and values, and hosting Prime Minister Marin has given us the opportunity to further strengthen that relationship into the future,” Prime Minister Ardern said.
“We discussed many areas where New Zealand and Finland share values, including with respect to human rights, gender equality, ambitious climate action, free and open trade, and sustainable growth.
“Boosting our trade relationships with partners has been a major part of our reconnecting work and economic recovery plan this year. Having concluded the new Europe Union FTA earlier this year, we welcomed the commitment from Finland to ensure the agreement is ratified and signed as soon as possible.
“Lifting our exports lifts the livelihoods and economic security of all New Zealanders. Prime Minister Marin and I also discussed that trade should build prosperity for all, support efforts to address the challenge of climate change, encourage sustainable development, and help businesses of all sizes to grow,” Ms Ardern said.
The New Zealand-European Union FTA includes ambitious and ground-breaking outcomes to promote trade and sustainable development. It is expected to increase exports to the EU by up to $1.8 billion per year.
The Prime Ministers also discussed a range of international and geo-political issues facing their respective regions and the world, including the global economic down turn and labour shortages, the rights of women and girls in Iran, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and how the war continues to exacerbate cost of living pressures globally,
“We discussed in detail our countries respective response to the war in Ukraine, and call again on Russia to immediately and unconditionally end the illegal occupation and withdraw its military forces from Ukraine,” PM Ardern said.
They also welcomed the UN Human Rights Council resolution on 24 November that established a fact-finding mission to Iran to thoroughly and independently investigate the alleged human rights violations there, including those of women and girls.
“The gravely concerning situation of women and girls in Iran was a major topic of our discussion. Violence against women, girls or any other members of Iranian or any society to prevent their exercise of universal human rights is unacceptable and must end. We will continue to work our likeminded partners in condemning such actions,” Ms Ardern said.
Prime Minister Ardern also welcomed Finland’s commitment to the Christchurch Call, and both Prime Ministers welcomed opportunities for continued collaboration as part of the Call’s ongoing work.