In New Year messages, European leaders voice concerns and aspirations

Wednesday, 2020-01-01 14:35:51
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Spectacular London fireworks while Britain plays in 2020
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Leaders of European countries have voiced concerns and aspirations in their Christmas and New Year messages, as the eventful year of 2019 comes to an end.

In her New Year message on Tuesday (December 31), Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin underlined the importance of social equality.

The 34-year-old Marin noted that the strength of the society should not be measured on the basis of the strength of the most affluent, but through how the most vulnerable cope with their lives. Marin raised the question whether everyone in Finland has the possibility of a good life.

The world's youngest prime minister acknowledged in her message that much in Finland depends on the world economy, but the government can provide a stable and predictable environment for enterprises.

"Fast policy changes should be avoided while reacting to the cyclical situation," she said.

Marin also said the 2020s will be the "decade of decisions" for repelling the climate change. She reiterated the government pledge that Finland would be carbon neutral by 2035. She believes that Finland and Europe could lead international climate work and benefit from that role economically.

German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier voiced concerns over the rise of anti-Semitism and far-right extremism in his Christmas speech, calling on all citizens to fight against them.

He mentioned the deadly attack near a synagogue in Germany's eastern city of Halle in October which killed two people nearby and later injured two others.

In his Christmas message, Czech President Milos Zeman praised the low unemployment rate, stable economic growth, relatively low state debt and the growth of the average wage and old-age pensions in the country.

Zeman also drew attention to the problem of "slowness" in construction proceedings and the construction of transport infrastructure in his country.

Greece is welcoming 2020 with optimism, having learnt valuable lessons from past mistakes, leaving the financial crisis behind and moving forward with confidence and unity, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in his New Year message.

"We are entering the 3rd decade of the 21st century which brings unprecedented challenges: from geostrategic instability on the planet and the climate crisis to the 'explosion' of technology and its consequences. All this requires open thinking and bold actions," the Greek leader noted.

He added that Britain can also turn the page on the division, rancor and uncertainty which has dominated public life and held the country back for far too long.

Albanian President Ilir Meta said the solidarity the country demonstrated after the tragic 6.4-magnitude earthquake on November 26 is a solid and enduring foundation that inspires all and gives the people confidence for the challenges ahead.

"Each of you deserves more positivity, a fairer Albania, more loving, compassionate and more humane," Meta said, adding "this first of all requires an inclusive and united Albania, always guided by the national and public interest."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his first New Year message at 10 Downing Street, urged people of Britain to join together to make the 2020s a decade of prosperity and opportunity.

"The first item on my agenda is to fulfill the will of the electorate and take us out of the European Union," said Johnson.

Denmark's Queen Margrethe II, in her New Year address to the nation, placed special emphasis on tolerance and compassion.

Speaking live from Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen on Tuesday, the Queen underscored the planet's vulnerability to climate change.

"It is a common challenge for all of us today, and it is important that we are all aware of how we live and what we do," said the 79-year-old Queen.