Official visit to Finland of a delegation of the Court of Justice of the European Union 21–24 May 2017, Seminar in the Supreme Administrative Court 24 May 2017
President Pekka Vihervuori, Welcome and opening words
President Lenaerts, Presidents, Colleagues, Participants of the Seminar, Ladies and Gentlemen,
warmly welcome to this second seminar of the official visit on this fourth and final day of the visit. Already now I can say that these days have been very rewarding and extremely interesting, thanks to our honoured guests.
As we all well are aware of, the Finnish judicial system is dualistic. This morning we have gathered together in the premises of one of the two final court instances, the Supreme Administrative Court. In this court of justice today, European law is present very extensively, let it be public procurement, environment, immigration, taxation, state aid, data protection, social services or some other field being at stake. It is, however, hard to measure exactly the share of those cases of all where European union law is relevant here, but, by and large, it may be said that union law is more or less present in at least half of all incoming cases. Direct application of the treaties or of the relevant regulations certainly occurs, but more often the indirect effect of a large variety of implemented directives is at stake. In a typical case before this court, various ingredients of national law and union law are mixed, sometimes even in a very multi-layered and complex way.
During the recent years and this year, the Finnish judiciary, and this very court, has been suddenly faced by common European problems, that is the exceptionally high amount of asylum seekers and hence an exceptional amount of asylum appeals to administrative courts. Of course, all this has been a hard task to all relevant actors in Europe, and not least to us. But here we also see how interdependent we all in Europe are. In a particular manner, we are here reminded of the importance of how the common responsibilities are realised in practice all over Europe.
In the world of today and the Europe of today, rule of law in a democratic context, or more properly, appreciation of and commitment to it, is in fact needed perhaps more than ever. No one is capable of performing miracles alone, but cooperation, intercourse and dialogue between different judicial actors and experts is of utmost fundamental importance here. And that is exactly what we are going to do together today. In fact, we have now an excellent opportunity to that, although the schedule is somewhat strict.
I wish all of you a fruitful seminar.