MP Talk: Dialogue is key to enhancing mutual trust

MP Talk gives members of parliament the opportunity to share their views on Finnish society with an international audience. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Helsinki Times.

Fundamental principles of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), as well as individual freedoms and rights, have been brutally violated – both in areas of conflict and individual participating states.

New conflicts have emerged and solutions are not in sight to the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area. Human suffering and frustration have grown, while new tensions have emerged.

Security is composed of several elements; the functioning of democratic institutions, respect towards basic principles of the law, and, not least, the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

I would like to underline the point that dialogue is one of the keys to enhancing mutual trust. It is helpful to recall that dialogue is not only about talking and listening. Dialogue should also be an attempt to understand different viewpoints.

As parliamentarians, my fellow members of the OSCE Assembly and I are well aware of the fact that power and positions of trust are never permanent – or at least should not be. Politicians who are in power today may be in opposition tomorrow. The change of power is an essential part of democracy. Therefore, it is important to listen to the voice of the opposition and allow it the opportunity to present its opposing views in a constructive manner. This is an important part of the political dialogue at national level.

It is obvious that we need to find new tools in solving conflicts and crises. In peace mediations, it is particularly important to engage all concerned parties in discussions and dialogue. It is obvious that solutions to a conflict or crisis can only be sustainable when they respect individual freedoms, human rights and other OSCE principles. But, in addition to that, maybe we also need to engage more partners in this dialogue – namely, those persons or groups that are directly concerned and affected by disputes and armed conflicts. I am thinking of the local authorities and NGOs that represent the persons directly and most concretely affected by the crisis.

When looking at the root causes of many of today’s conflicts, we have seen that the underlying reasons are almost always tied in some way to the region’s history, whether that be in the near or not-so-near past.

History – and the interpretation of selected historical events – is increasingly being used in the dialogue between nations to justify their actions. It is important to be familiar with history and to try to understand the background to historical events and human behaviour.

However, history should not be abused. Nor should it be used to increase tension and distrust between or within nations. The study of history should guide us in finding peaceful solutions. It should not be used to increase tensions and disagreements. Durable and sustainable solutions can only be based on the truth.

Aila Paloniemi represents the Centre Party in the Finnish Parliament. She is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairperson of the Finnish Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and Chairperson of the Development Policy Committee. Currently serving her fourth parliamentary term, Paloniemi has previously served for 20 years as a journalist in the Finnish Broadcasting Company, working in both TV and radio.

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

helsinkitimes
power politics Finish
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
A citizens initiative demanding the end of diesel tax met its target for 50,000 signatures in just one day, six months ahead of schedule. Cities across the world might be looking for ways to reduce the use of harmful diesel engines, but in Finland there appears to be a groundswell of popular support for the dirty fuel. On Monday Tuulikki Paavola published a citizens initiative demanding an end to Finland’s diesel tax was published, with the goal of getting...
Society
The winners of the first edition of the European Capital of Smart Tourism competition were awarded 7th of November at a ceremony in Brussels, on the occasion of the European Tourism Day. The title for 2019 was awarded to two cities: Helsinki and Lyon. Cities of more than 100.000 inhabitants were eligible in the first edition of this competition. 38 cities from 19 EU Member States applied, but Helsinki and Lyon stood out for their innovative tourism measure...
Society
Alexander Stubb (NCP), a vice-president at the European Investment Bank (EIB), has hinted at the possibility of returning to politics after losing the race to become the lead candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) to Manfred Weber of Germany. Stubb received more votes than expected but lost to his rival candidate by a clear vote of 127 to 492 at EPP Congress Helsinki on Thursday. “I got a very good feeling [from the campaign], I must admit,” the fo...
Politics
The Finnish government will introduce no amendments to legislation on patient data during this electoral term, assures Annika Saarikko, the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services. Saarikko and Kai Mykkänen (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, have participated actively in public debate concerning a legislative proposal that, according to Helsingin Sanomat, has been drafted in secrecy and would grant police significantly wider access to sensitive pa...
Society
School groups could in the future use public transport services in the Helsinki region free of charge when travelling with a teacher, according to a decision made by the Executive Board of Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) on 30 October 2018. The final decision on transport charges, including tickets for school groups, will be made by the HSL General Meeting on 27 November.  From the beginning of 2019 onwards, municipal school administrations would no longer...
Society
Finland has dropped to eighth in the world in the latest version of a ranking of countries according to their English language skills. Finns are now the worst English-speakers in the Nordic countries, according to the EF English Proficiency Index. The 2018 version of the ranking puts Finland in eighth spot, with western neighbour Sweden topping the comparison. This year’s result is the weakest Finland has achieved in the ranking, which has been published e...
Society
The theme of next month's Independence Day ball at Helsinki's Presidential Palace will be climate change and environmental issues. The theme of this year's Independence Day reception will be climate change and the environment, according to the Office of the President of the Republic. Finland's most exclusive social occasion is just one month away, and the Office of the President has started sending invitations to some 1,700 guests for an evening that tradi...
Society
The day's papers report on unsolved thefts, free head lice medicine for families and Angela Merkel's visit to Helsinki. Daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that most larcenies go unsolved in Finland. According to statistics by the Police University College, police were able to clear 3,150 offences between January and September of this year, while about 41,500 remain unsolved. In 80 smaller municipalities, especially in Lapland and Åland, the police did not sol...
Society
Finland's Tax Administration reports that 15,000 more eligible taxpayers declared no taxable income in the last two years, putting the total past 160,000 in 2017. https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/steady_increase_in_declarations_of_no_taxable_income/10492154 The number of eligible taxpayers who reported no taxable income in Finland has risen by 15,000 in the last two years to a total of 161,000 in 2017. "Most of the people declaring no taxable income are...