The President’s public appearances include speeches, statements, greetings, interviews and press conferences. The President also makes other public appearances at functions and on occasions considered relevant and necessary for the discharging of the duties of the President. The President honours various celebrations and events with his or her presence.
When the President makes an official visit abroad or a foreign head of state visits Finland, the President generally makes one or more speeches. The President also usually meets representatives of the media in connection with visits and trips.
The President gives dozens of speeches at various occasions each year; the speeches are available on this website. Annual events include the President’s New Year’s Speech and the speeches at the opening and closing of Parliament sessions.
The President gives the New Year’s Speech on New Year’s Day, 1 January. The first such speech was given by President P.E. Svinhufvud on the radio in 1935. The first televised New Year’s Speech was given by President Urho Kekkonen in 1958. In 1993, Prime Minister Esko Aho gave the New Year’s Speech, standing in for President Mauno Koivisto.
Speeches at the opening and closing of Parliament sessions
The Constitution requires the President to declare the annual sessions of Parliament open and closed at the formal ceremonies held for the occasion.
The ceremonies begin with a service at Helsinki Cathedral, after which the President and Members of Parliament go to Parliament House. At the opening of Parliament, the President speaks first and the Speaker replies; at the closing, the order is reversed.
Since 1950, the President has given the opening speech of the annual Common Responsibility fundraising drive of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland, originally on radio and more recently on TV. This usually takes place on the first Sunday in February.
From 1945 to 2005, the President also formally announced the celebration of War Invalids’ Week and the Autumn Collection for War Invalids, originally on radio and more recently on TV. After 2005, the Autumn Collection was discontinued.