Fellow Finish senators and friends

Once upon a time it was a sunny day on a weekend like this. I visited Pori and Yyteri beach because Olli Rehn invited me then. It was called the Riviera of the north and I wanted to see what it looks like: Riviera? Italy in Finland? What a Europe. It was stunning. I loved it. We met that time in the All European Youth framework in tents around Yyteri to discuss the future of the divided Europe. It had been the 1980s.

During these times of the cold war you Fins had a vital role in Europe and we met in Finland to find common sense. You had been the moderators of Europe between the Soviet block and Western Europe, because you understood pretty well that you can’t get rid of either side. Whereas both sides fought each other as if there was no tomorrow you always took the moderating position and you always tried to keep us together. For that, you had been open and connected to both sides. Today we need you for that role in the years to come in JCI Europe and the Senate.

Finish senators are known for hanging out in groups of Fins during international conferences. I like to invite you to change that. As JCI World President Brian’s motto says: “change begins with me” start getting more active in Europe. Join us. Start interacting more with the other European nations within JCI. Some of them will be really divided in the future. Britain, Turkey, Spain/Catalonia, Russia/Ukraine are some examples. Show up and start to bring in your attitude, your experience, your fun (yes, your fun!).

JCI was founded internationally in 1944 to avoid deep conflicts and to foster dialogue. That is what we need to look for in Europe. Some of you are already very involved this year. Jonna Engblom helped to get our www.littlekingjci.com into Finish and Swedish, Paula Holtari will be from Friday to next week our European Senate President of the Week. Others are active on various levels. Be like the Moomins – win Europe’s heart and change our attitude back to dialogue.

We need you Fins in Europe!! Join us!

Friedhelm Wachs


European Senate President

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