Sipilä and Macron unveil statements on defence co-operation, artificial intelligence

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) and French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled joint initiatives on the utilisation of artificial intelligence and the development of the defence capabilities of the European Union in Helsinki on Thursday, 30 August. Sipilä stated in a press conference that their joint statement on developing defence co-operation is a natural continuation of the existing, active defence co-operation between Finland and France.

Credit: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva


The European Union has taken a number of key steps in the area of defence co-operation over the past couple of years, such as launching the so-called permanent structured co-operation (PESCO) to step up investments in common military capabilities.

“The ambition of developing European defence means first and foremost responsibility for our citizens. We are now taking determined steps in the right direction. Finland, like France, has been active in each stage of the development. And we will continue our joint efforts,” assertedSipilä.

Sipilä and Macron in their joint statement lent their support for raising defence co-operation appropriations and strengthening both the structured co-operation and industrial participation in the area of defence. Finland and France, they emphasised, are of the opinion that the co-operation must extend beyond crisis management and lead to the strengthening of the protection of the union and its citizens.

Digitisation and innovation were among the other prominent features of the discussions between the two heads of state.

“Europe should adopt a stronger research and innovation policy,” Sipilä said. “This goal must show in all activities. Both President Macron and I are prepared to roll up our sleeves and work hard to deepen European co-operation.”

Finland and France urge all EU member states to explore the possibilities presented by artificial intelligence more systematically and to respond to the concerns and questions of citizens about, for example, the ethics of artificial intelligence. The EU, the statement reads, must promote fair, participatory and humane digitisation.

“The idea is to prepare recommendations for AI, which can be used not only in Finland and France but also at the EU level,” told Sipilä.

The heads of state yesterday also discussed a number of other topical issues, ranging from migration, trade policy, and the development of both the single market and the European Monetary Union (EMU).

“Europe’s unity has improved from what it was a couple of years ago. But gales swaying from outside the European Union affect it perhaps harder than ever before,” Sipilä stated.

“We must shoulder our heavy responsibility for ensuring that the EU remains united. Unity is the precondition for a stronger EU. President Macron and I are firmly committed to working together for this matter,” he added.

Macron also sat down with President Sauli Niinistö during his two-day visit to Finland.

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