Speech by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the Balticconnector Commissioning Celebration on 11 December 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have gathered here today to celebrate yet another connection between our two countries. Finland and Estonia are already bound together by many ties – political, economic and cultural. Opening this gas pipeline is an important step in doing the same in the field of energy.
The impacts of this pipeline are not limited to our two countries only. This is very much a European project. In addition to the strong commitment of the Finnish and Estonian governments, the support from the European Commission has been essential in making this happen.
Looking at the map, it is easy to understand why. When we aim at “Connecting Europe”, connecting the Baltic is key. This pipeline is an important component of the new regional gas market for Finland and Baltic countries. And with it, we are moving closer to a genuine EU-wide gas network and market.
This development brings many energy-related benefits. Diversification of sources, increased competition, a functioning market – they improve the energy security of all of us.
But I would like to add that there are also benefits beyond energy. Proving that the EU, together with its member states, can deliver on major projects is good for the broader image of Europe. Modern infrastructure, vital to our future prosperity and well-being, requires cross-border cooperation.
What applies to the energy sector, is also true in other fields. We are stronger together.
We need modern energy infrastructure to address the biggest challenge ahead of us: climate change.
As Finland is phasing out the energy use of coal over the next decade, natural gas will continue to play a role in our energy mix. During the much longer lifetime of this pipeline, we may well witness new technological breakthroughs becoming commercially viable. In the future, like we heard, it might be biogas, synthetic gas or even hydrogen, that travels through this pipeline.
I want to thank all of you who have contributed to the success of this project. We have good reason to be proud of it. As Finns, as Estonians, and as Europeans.