Helsinki, 10 March 2023
The European People’s Party (EPP) gathered in Helsinki from 9-10 March for its Political Assembly in full support of our Finnish member party, Kokoomus, ahead of decisive elections in Finland in April.
The Assembly featured speeches by EPP President Manfred Weber, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, opposition leader Petteri Orpo (Kokoomus) from Finland, EPP Vice-President and EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn and former Prime Minister of Finland Jyrki Katainen.
President Weber made clear in his introductory intervention that the EPP is leading the debate on many issues including migration, competitiveness and the war in Ukraine. He also stressed that the EPP stands behind the goal to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050, driven not by ideology, but by technological innovation. Petteri Orpo emphasized that the EPP “knows how to make Europe stronger and better”.
The discussion on Day One focused on the Nordic model on innovation and foresight and EU’s security and defense. Former Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen praised the EU’s Green Deal while criticizing the US’s approach with the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act. He also emphasised that the EPP should be “a progressive political force” that should “challenge the current way of thinking”. Roberta Metsola suggested that the EU open accession negotiations with Ukraine “even this year”. Petteri Orpo promised that once Finland will be a member of NATO, the country will be a “security provider” rather than “consumer”.
On the second day of the Assembly, delegates adopted a position paper led by EPP Vice Presidents Petteri Orpo and Johannes Hahn on “Empowering Europe’s middle class in a world of shocks” that calls for the EPP to “strengthen the middle class” in Europe, and create jobs and growth through an “increase of financial responsibility” and “fair social security”. Delegates also adopted a resolution tabled by Kokoomus on “Boosting military mobility and moving to towards a genuine EU Defense Union” which calls for a “ambitiously funded EU defense budget”.
The delegates also welcomed the European Centre-Right LGBT+ Alliance as an associated entity.

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Maïa de la Baume

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Alexandra Henman

Deputy Spokesperson