Finnishness reinforced during EU membership
Seminar on Finnishness in the EU was a part of the Europe 2020 project
Press release 22 March 2005 On 22 March 2005, Sitra’s Europe 2020 project arranged a seminar on the theme Finnishness in Europe. – As there have been several events in Finland discussing the relationship between Finland and the EU, we thought that it would be good to assess the matter from the viewpoint of being Finnish. Prior to the EU referendum, many Finns expressed their concern about the survival of the Finnish culture, the Finnish language and the Finnish way of life, says Peter Ekholm, the leader of Sitra’s Europe project. The project has been ongoing for the last four and a half years and has focused on issues related to the future of the EU. According to Ekholm, it pays to return to your roots from time to time. He wants to remind us that more than 40 per cent of the Finns voted against, and quite many are still sceptical about, integration. Even Finns who enthusiastically support integration are deliberating over Finnishness in the EU. – It is paradoxical that dialect poetry and dialect comics have become popular during our membership of the European Union. The provincial identity is strengthening. Local history is popular, not to mention genealogy. Finnishness has become important during the EU era, Ekholm summarises. The Finnish language is also living and evolving. Words from other languages have been introduced over time so that more than half of the Finnish language probably has foreign origins. The share in professional terminology is even greater. Ekholm says that we are quite flexibly adapting to the development of language. – Mycket kiva has become understandable Finnish, but I am not sure whether I want to hear Finnish – English hybrids such as uppostranger, tuikiordinary or ypöalone. The Finns’ self-respect has improved. Young Finns, in particular, do not stand at the door, cap in hand, waiting for someone to invite them in. We sit at the long table in the great hall and engage in discussions. This mental change has already become evident and will be even clearer in the future. The new generations taking up positions of power are at home in the EU circles and even more in global situations. – And why shouldn’t they? In today’s world, this is just as natural as when students from Mikkeli used to move to Turku to enrol at university, says Ekholm. In addition to Ekholm, the speakers at Sitra’s Europe project seminar included Esko Aho, who opened the meeting, as well as Professor Laura Kolbe and Editor-in-Chief Janne Virkkunen. The panellists included Editor-in-Chief Jaakko Lyytinen, Managing Director Marko Parkkinen and Development Manager Veera Mustonen. They participated in Sitra’s Best Before 01012015 course for young future makers in 2003. The seminar video (in Finnish) will be available from Tuesday evening on the Internet. Choose Broadband or Modem. Europe 2020 is Sitra’s research programme, which started in autumn 2000. It has combined research information and practical experience of the EU. It has predicted the EU’s future development and produced analyses, evaluations and recommendations to help decision-makers and inspire public debate. For further information Europe 2020 project, Peter Ekholm, Project Manager, telephone +358 9 6189 9235.