Obama should focus on climate change says Finnish Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja. Image: Yle  Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja has both praise and criticism for freshly re-elected US President Barack Obama.

“Climate change has not been a priority for the country,” Tuomioja said in regard to US policies. “For example, the US has been quite invisible at Rio+20 summits.”

In an interview with Yle’s breakfast programme Aamu-tv, the minister said that superstorm Sandy gave an example of the impact of climate change.

As to other election themes, Tuomioja said that domestic politics are likely to weigh heavily with Obama. The situation in the Middle East will take a backseat, according to Tuomioja.

“It’s clear that domestic and economic policy affects the whole world, and taking care of that is absolutely critical,” the Finnish minister said.

“Europe relieved”

Tuomioja assessed Obama’s victory speech in Chicago as one of his best.

“Obama is a brilliant speaker, and he can raise feelings and expectations. It’s his strength, but it has also turned into his weakness as he’s raised greater expectations than he’s managed to fulfil,” Tuomioja noted.

An inability to meet all his promises is not just Obama’s own fault, the minister added—but it played against him during the re-election campaign.

“But now he’s president, and the feeling of relief is likely at least here in Europe,” Tuomioja said.

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