Turku in the heart of politics, economy and science in August: Europe Forum publishes its full programme

The programme for the Europe Forum 2021 has been published. The fourth forum will be organized in Turku on 25-27 August. The discussions will evolve especially around the theme of changes in the EU and Finland. As speakers, the programme features ministers, MEPs, and leading experts in science, economy, and politics.

The Europe Forum is organized as a three-day hybrid event in Turku on the 25th to 27th of August 2021. The public is invited to participate online. The participation on spot will be limited and invitation-based, where organizations invite the majority of the public. The aim is to increase live attendance with the consideration of the coronavirus situation in August.

”The programme for this year’s Europe Forum is extremely interesting, now that the most important EU influencers have confirmed their attendance. Since the Next Generation EU recovery fund has been ratified by all member states, the discussions about the use of the fund begin. In Finland, the internal political tension intensifies after the local municipal elections. The political season starts in Turku this year, too, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sanna Marin”, says Anders Blom, Professor of Practice and the Chair of Europe Forum Turku, the association organising the forum.

Organizers of the Europe Forum adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health for the prevention of coronavirus. As an acknowledgement for a responsible organization of events, the Europe Forum has been granted the Clean & Safe Turku sign. 

Increased need for a discussion on Europe

The talks surrounding the EU recovery fund revealed an urgent need for a pluralist and unifying discussion on Europe.

“There are several issues that are important for the future of Europe: the EU’s success in handling the corona virus, the upcoming elections in Germany and France, the European Green Deal, the economic development of the euro area, the effects of the recovery fund, the different views on the future of integration, just to name a few”, describes Markku Jokisipilä, Assistant Professor at the Centre for Parliamentary Studies of the University of Turku.

The Europe Forum is a national discussion forum based on cooperation between NGOs and public authorities. This year, there are discussions, for instance, on information warfare and economic perspectives.

“This year, the programme includes a lot of interesting topics also for the businesses in this area. The EU recovery policies, and the specific projects and transport policies that stem from them, are of special interest. Our area has a lot of export companies, and the EU is an important market and partner region for them. There are several infrastructure and investment projects in the pipeline that contribute to the green transition and can hopefully benefit from EU funding”, says Kaisa Leiwo, Managing Director at the Turku Chamber of Commerce.

The Europe Forum has approx. 40 separate organizers and more than 30 different events.

Wednesday Aug 25th, Science Day

The Science Day discussions include such topics as AI, vaccinations, and information or filter bubble. The discussions are chaired by the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. Among the panelists are Professor Tapio Salakoski, Principal Lecturer Elina Kontio, Professor Johan Lilius, University Lecturer Anna-Greta Nyström, Associate Professor Mika Viljanen, Vice-Rector Mikael Lindfelt, Doctoral Student Kristiina Makkonen, Adjunct Professor Anna Soveri, research associate Rasmus Sirén, Professor Kim Strandberg, and Professor, MD Juhani Knuuti.

The seminar “Information influencing and Europe”, led by the universities, has three themes. On information operations, the keynote speaker is Doctor of Social Sciences, Docent Erkki Tuomioja, and commentating will be Director of Hybrid CoE Teija Tiilikainen, Director of Sitra Veera Heinonen, Doctor of Laws Johanna Friman and the Chairperson of Edunvalvontafoorumi Tuomi Yli-Huttula, among others. The direction and quality of the Europe-discourse in Finland will be discussed with The Association of Editors (PTY). Participating in the discussion are, among others, the Editor-in-Chief of STT Minna Holopainen, the Editor-in-Chief of Kauppalehti Arno Ahosniemi, the Editor-in-Chief of Hufvudstadsbladet Erja Yläjärvi, the Editor-in-Chief of YLE News Jouko Jokinen, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Turun Sanomat Kari Vainio. In addition, the seminar will be presenting the HX Program as a separate theme.

Turun Eurooppanuoret, the local branch of Young European Federalists (JEF), organizes an event featuring diversity consultant and influencer Fatima Verwijnen, Public Policy Director and Head of EU Affairs on Facebook Aura Salla, and public governance expert, consult Silva Mertsola

The Regional Council of Southwest Finland hosts an event on the future of regional development, with speakers Timo Aro, expert on regional and demographic development, Mayor of the City of Naantali Laura Leppänen, and Region Mayor of the Regional Council of North Karelia Markus Hirvonen.

Thursday Aug 26th, Economy Day

The programme of the day includes, for instance, seminars on economy and on transport policy, a Great Euro Discussion, and the Turku climate forum. The keynote speaker of the Economy Day is Secretary General of the European Commission Ilze Juhansone. Minister for European Affairs Tytti Tuppurainen as well as the ministers of Europe and Foreign Affairs in France and Germany also bring their greetings to the forum.  

Participating to the great Competitiveness and trade -themed panel discussion will be, in addition to Juhansone, CEO of Bayer Nordic Region Miriam Holstein, Country Senior Executive in Finland at Nordea Ari Kaperi, Managing Director of ABB Oy Finland Pekka Tiitinen, and Permanent State Secretary at Ministry of Finance Juha Majanen.  

A panel discussion focuses on the threats and possibilities of autonomous shipping. The panelists include MEP Henna Virkkunen, Senior Ministerial Adviser Anne Miettinen from the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Iiro Lindborg, Vice President for Groke Technologies. The moderator for the panel discussion is Ulla Tapaninen, Associate Professor in Maritime Transport.

The Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) leads a discussion on the lessons Europe has learned from the pandemic. The panelists include Johanna Ketola, Research Fellow at FIIA, Iikka Korhonen, Head of BOFIT (​Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition), and Dr. Hanna Tiirinki, PhD in Health Management Sciences. The moderator for the panel is Dr. Mika Aaltola, Director of FIIA.

Discussion organized by MEP Heidi Hautala and Fingo will look into the means of centering sustainability in business. The future and significance of Euro will be discussed by Party Leader, MP Jussi Halla-aho, MEP Henna Virkkunen, and researchers Antti Ronkainen and Timo Miettinen.

Friday Aug 27th, Politics Day

The opening speeches are given by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and MP and party leader Jussi Halla-aho.

The discussions are lead, among others, by Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, and the topics include green transition, digitalisation, and the global role of the EU. The event organized by the European Committee of the Regions focuses on the significance of the EU recovery fund, and its utilization in the different regions and municipalities within the EU.

The development in the rule of law in Europe and in the world will be discussed by Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering Tytti Tuppurainen, President of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK Jarkko Eloranta, Chairman of The Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK Antti Palola, Director of Labor Relations of Akava Katarina Murto, and the Director of Confederations of Finnish Industries EK Petri Vuorio.  

The foreign and security policy seminar focuses on the European politics as part of the Finnish foreign and security policy. Theme of the seminar is the Strategic Autonomy of Europe, and it will be discussed in light of EU’s relations with USA and China, as well as cooperation in security and defence. The panelists include, among others, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto, Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Security Policy Kai Sauer, Chairperson of Paasikivi Society and MP Antti Rinne, MEP Laura Huhtasaari, Professors Lauri Paltemaa, Mikael Mattlin and Juha A. Vuori, Vice-Chair of the Arctic Society of Finland Hannele Pokka, Director of Research and Analysis at the Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats Hanna Smith, Senior Research Fellow on China in the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House Dr. Yu Jie, Director General of the Ministry of Defence Esa Pulkkinen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Patria Panu Routila, Vice-Chair of the Centre Party Riikka Pakarinen, and Petteri Orpo, Chairperson of the National Coalition Party.

The programme for Friday also includes a public hearing of the Parliament of Finland Grand Committee led by Satu Hassi, as well as a panel discussion on Russia, led by politician and business executive Esko Aho, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto, Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, and Professor Markku Kangaspuro.

My Europe -lecture, aimed for the youth, will be organized on Friday together with the Timeout Foundation. 

The programme for Europe Forum can be found online: https://europeforum.fi/en/programme/

Join the online event to discuss the future of Europe

The Europe Forum will have four main venues: the foyer of the Turku City Theatre, Radisson Blu Marina Palace hotel, Turku Administrative building, and the Europe Forum virtual platform.

The participation on spot will be limited and invitation-based, where organizations invite the majority of the public, but the whole programme will be accessible through live streams.

The public can follow the discussions online, and comment and ask questions through the chat on the event platform. The discussions will be recorded and can be viewed later via YouTube, among other channels.

Turku is a safe place to visit

The planning and production of the event will adhere to the instructions issued by the authorities, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

As proof of a responsible organization of events, the Europe Forum has been granted the Clean & Safe Turku sign. The four venues follow the latest guidelines issued by the authorities. It is also important that each attendee respects the guidelines, practices good hand hygiene, and attends the events only when healthy.