On September 27, Foreign Policy at Brookings hosted President Sauli Niinistö of Finland for an Alan and Jane Batkin International Leaders Forum. President Niinistö has served as president since 2012 and recently won re-election in January 2018. He has a longstanding career in public service, including as speaker of parliament, minister of justice, deputy prime minister, and minister of finance.
In a keynote address, “A Stronger Europe: Our Common Interest,” President Niinistö spoke to the challenges facing Europe today and the critical role of the Euro-Atlantic partners in meeting these rising challenges. Following the president’s remarks, Strobe Talbott, former president and current distinguished scholar at Brookings, joined President Niinistö on stage for a conversation on these themes. Questions from the audience followed the discussion.
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The Biden administration has a pretty good idea of what it wants from Europe, which is to go along with their China policy. They are less clear about what they type of Europe they want. Ultimately, if Biden wants a Europe that competes with China he will have to change how the US thinks about the EU, strategic autonomy, burden sharing, and trade.