It’s Time to Revive the Helsinki Spirit,

Sauli Niinistö, president of the Republic of Finland.

In 2025, 50 years will have passed since the Helsinki Summit of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). In 1975, during a few hot summer days in the midst of the Cold War, 35 heads of state and government came together in the Finnish capital and signed the Helsinki Final Act. The document outlined an important set of principles and confidence-building measures to improve security and covered a broad list of areas for cooperation, from the economy to science and technology and from the environment to human contacts.

The Helsinki Summit’s CSCE was a turning point in East-West détente. At the time, some criticized the conference for confirming Europe’s post-war division. Yet the Helsinki Final Act turned out to be anything but a final act. A little more than a decade later, the process that started in Helsinki, its letter as well as its spirit, was a crucial factor in overcoming that very division. Rather than solidifying the status quo, it spurred a dynamic change for the better.

On its own terms, therefore, 1975 is a remarkable historical milestone worth remembering. Finland is committed to taking the lead in marking the anniversary. But I believe we should not be satisfied with only reminiscing past achievements. Instead, we should be far more ambitious and focus on what is needed for the future. We should revive the Helsinki legacy, both its letter and its spirit, to address the challenges of the next half century together. Läs artikel