Minister Erkki Tuomioja’s words at the opening of the Peruvian art exhibition marking the 50th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between Finland and Peru, at the Cultural Centre Caisa, 7.3.2013

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to open the two exhibitions of Peruvian art today here in Caisa: the exhibition ’Feelings’ that displays sculptures and paintings by artist Maria Elena Rodríguez La-Rosa and the exhibition ’Identity’ that consists of photographs by photographer Manuel Chávez Rodríguez. The exhibitions will be open until 25th of April and I hope that many people will come during the spring to see these greatly colourful and interesting samples of Peruvian contemporary art.

I am very pleased and honoured to be here celebrating the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Finland and Peru. As a matter of fact, our friendship with Peru is much older than 50 years. It originates from the beginning of Finland’s story as an independent nation, when, in June 1919, Peru officially recognized us as a new republic. Our diplomatic relations started on the 25 January 1963, just a bit more than 50 years ago.

Already in 1965 we signed an agreement on technical and economic cooperation. This cooperation included different infrastructure and social projects via donations and concessional credits.

In 1967, as Vice-president of the Secondary School Students Union in Finland, I was centrally involved in initiating the cooperation project, which was the first development programme between our countries. We participated in the Nordic public fund raising campaign to support several development projects in Peru. I particularly remember that with those funds, a pool of Finnish machinery was provided to SENATI, the main centre of vocational education in Peru. It is a great pleasure for me to see that nowadays Peru is one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America with excellent economic and social potential.

Finnish cooperation projects continue in the Andean region including Peru. Finland has been funding projects e.g. in the fields of energy and the environment, where Finland has ten years ago funded environmental protection in Macchu Pichu.

In the recent years, our traditionally strong relations with Peru have widened and diversified. Our relations are no longer only a matter of governments. Thanks to innovative and horizontal instruments, they run through multiple channels, allowing diverse actors of both sides to directly interact, collaborate and launch joint initiatives. Peruvian exports to Finland are growing. But there still are many unused opportunities for new commercial exchanges and investments of mutual interest.

Peru is one of Finland´s main partners in South America. Peru´s impressive biodiversity and its varied and millenary cultural heritage are well known worldwide. Peru’s political and economic stability, its fast and sustained economical growth, and its current policies of social inclusion are also noteworthy.

I am happy to note that we share the same visions and goals regarding democracy, the rule of law, human rights and security. Accordingly, both countries promote multilateralism and ever deeper integration with their main partners. On the other hand, we face the same global problems, such as climate change.

Finland is happy to continue the collaboration with Peru, supporting its inclusive development, as well as the diversification of its technologic and productive structure upon a sustainable basis. As a matter of fact, Finnish methods for research, innovation and education are already a benchmark in Peru.

During these last fifty years our strong bilateral links and dialogue on international matters have always been mutually beneficial. This is the best possible starting point for a promising future development of the relations between Finland and Peru.

Thank you, Muchas gracias.