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Sitra launches new training for decision-makers to strengthen EU skills in Finland

Finland has been a member of the European Union for 28 years. But what will the next 28 years be like? On 10 October, Sitra is launching a new leadership training course aimed at strengthening the ability of decision-makers to influence the future of the EU.


Lea Kurki

Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs

Laura Seppälä

Manager, Communications and Public Affairs


Sitra’s Leadership Training for the Future EU aims to boost Finland’s capacity to make a difference on the future direction of the European Union. The twice-yearly training courses usually bring together some 60 decision-makers and influencers to debate the future of the EU and strengthen their potential to influence it.

Many of the laws that affect Finland are made in the EU. The EU also decides how we respond to crises, what we do to mitigate biodiversity loss and climate change, or how we work together to promote sustainable economic development.

The future of the EU is currently high on the European Council’s agenda. Next year will see European elections and the appointment of a new Commission.

“Now is the right time to discuss how and in what ways we can make a difference in the EU and seek solutions to the challenges of the future together with others. If we want to make a strategic difference, we need to know how and where to do so,” says Päivi Hirvola, one of the training facilitators and the director of the training programme.

The European Union is changing, can we keep up?

Global competition, the EU’s changing security environment, enlargement and economic, climate and migration reforms have all altered the nature of the EU. Responding to global tensions requires cooperation.

“The participants in our training courses play a key role in thinking about the future of the EU. We want to broaden the debate about the EU. By influencing the future of the EU, we are laying the foundations for a sustainable future for Finland,” says Riikka Marjamäki, Senior Lead at the Leadership Training for the Future EU. 

The training will provide up-to-date information and insights from top experts on the future of the EU and how to lead it.

To support the training, Sitra published on 5 October a memo by European researcher Timo Miettinen, entitled ‘The EU in a time of crises” (coming soon in English), which examines how the EU developed, its current situation and future direction.

The first Leadership Training for the Future EU will involve 28 decision-makers and influencers. The course starts on 10 October. 

The participants in the first pilot course

Name TitleOrganisation 
Minna Aila  EVP, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs  Neste  
Eeva Aittoniemi  Head of Unit 
EU and International Affairs 
Ministry of Justice, Finland 
Pia Björkbacka  Adviser for International Affairs The Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions 
Eveliina Heinäluoma  Member of Parliament, Finland Social Democratic Parliamentary Group 
Lauri Hirvonen  Director, European Correspondent European correspondent Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland 
Maria Häggman  Head of International Affairs  Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK 
Tuomas Iso-Markku  Senior Research Fellow  the Finnish Institute of International Affairs – FIIA  
Markku Jokisipilä  Assistant Professor, Centre for Parliamentary Studies University of Turku 
Atte Jääskeläinen  President Sitra  
Eeva Kalli  Member of Parliament Centre Party Parliamentary Group 
Tuuli Kaskinen  CEO Climate Leadership Coalition  
Ville Kaunisto  Member of Parliament Parliamentary Group of the National Coalition Party 
Lea Konttinen  Senior Lead Sitra  
Johanna Lahti  Editor in Chief Ilta-Sanomat  
Maria Mekri  Executive Director SaferGlobe  
Jani Mäkelä  Member of Parliament  The Finns Party Parliamentary Group 
Jussi Mäkinen  Director, EU Regulation Teknologiateollisuus  
Päivi Nerg  State Secretary Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 
Elisa Newby  Head of Department  Bank of Finland 
Maria Ohisalo  Member of Parliament Green Parliamentary Group 
Paula Pokkinen  Head of  Yle News 
Maria Rautavirta  Director of Databusiness Unit, Senior Ministerial Adviser Ministry of Transport and Communications  
Petri Salminen  Chairman Suomen Yrittäjät  
Heli Siivola  Senior Specialist for EU Affairs,  Prime Minister’s Office  
Totti Sivonen  Executive Director European Movenment Finland 
Sari Tanus  Member of Parliament Christian Democratic Parliamentary Group 
Ismo Ulvila  Head of Communications European Commission’s Representation in Finland  
Päivi Wood  Chief Policy Adviser  Confederation of Finnish Industries 

Sitra’s training courses have been bringing together Finnish decision-makers since 1977.Over the years, more than 2 500 decision-makers and influencers have participated in the leadership training for sustainable economic policy courses.

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