Presidential Palace
Helsinki, Finland

1:15 P.M. EEST
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ:  So, Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure to wish you welcome to Finland.  And I continue by thanking you for your strong support and your strong will to support us during the time that Finland has entered to a new era in our security policy.
And I have to tell you that this week in Vilnius was very impressive to experience the way you created unity amongst Allies.  That was great to see.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ:  So, once again, I warmly welcome you, and I guess you got the best welcomes already on the streets of Helsinki — (laughter) — which are (inaudible).
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  By the way, they are.  They’re very –very gracious.  Very gracious.
Well, it’s a delight to be here.  It’s good to be back in Finland.  This is my second visit.  And it’s — you know, I remember a conversation you and I had when you called to come to the White House to talk about being a member —
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  — of NATO.  And it took me about three seconds to say, “Yes.”  Strong support.
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  No, I mean it sincerely, because we had — we launched your ratification process — the fastest it’s occurred in modern history.  The fastest ratification period in modern history.
You may remember my telling you — I said to our friend in the east that he wants the Finlandization of NATO; well, you’re going to get the NATO-ization of Finland.
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  But all kidding aside, you know, you’re — you’ve been a great partner.  We’re great allies.  And, you know, Finland and the United States — I think we’re stronger together.  And I really mean that.  You’ve been an incredible asset to NATO and to the world.
The — and the main reason is we have the same value set.  I really mean that.  It really matters.  And, you know, we’re deepening our defense cooperation to ensure that — the security of our people as we modernize your air force with the F-35 aircraft, which you already had.
And together, we’re standing for shared democratic values.  That’s what it’s all about.  I really think — and you’re very gracious and kind to give me credit for unity at — at NATO.  But I think it’s — I’ve been doing this a long time; I don’t think NATO has ever been stronger.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ:  You could sense a feeling of that.
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  No, I — I believe that.
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  And we had a — a very, very — I had a very good, long meeting with Zelenskyy, who ended up being very happy, and met with his military people.
And I think there’s a — I — it’s a different era in the nature of our relationship and bringing along Sweden as well.  It makes a gigantic difference.
So, I’m anxious to continue to work with you.
PRESIDENT NIINISTÖ:  It seems that when things get serious also, people understand that we have to stick together.
PRESIDENT BIDEN:  And you putting together this U.S.-Nordic Summit means a lot to me as well, so I’m looking forward to meeting our colleagues.  But I want to thank you.  I mean, you’ve been an incredible, incredible partner.
1:18 P.M. EEST

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