At a time when American presidential candidate Donald Trump is threatening Europe with ending its military assistance, the Finns have on the contrary shown their desire to commit to the Atlantic Alliance. They indeed chose, on Sunday February 11, to elect Alexander Stubb, a firm supporter of his country's entry into NATO, as president.
For the presence of nuclear weapons
Leader of the conservative national party, this 55-year-old former prime minister won against Pekka Haavisto, a member of the Green party. Barely elected, Alexander Stubb expressed his desire to “place Finland at the heart of NATO”. It has positioned itself as a “security provider, not a consumer,” he added.
In favor of strengthening sanctions against Russia, he is, unlike his competitor, ready to authorize the presence of nuclear weapons on Finnish soil. With him, Finland will also continue to provide strong support to Ukraine.
The presidential election was strongly marked by the context of this war and the Finns' choice to join NATO. The Finnish president has less power than the prime minister, but he directs foreign policy and is the supreme commander of the armed forces.
New Iron Curtain
The country shares 1,340 km of border with Russia and recently decided to close it, fearing Russian maneuvers to destabilize the country, in particular by transporting a certain number of migrants to the border.
Alexander Stubb has headed the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, for the past three years, after withdrawing from public affairs. A former political science researcher, he was elected MEP in 2004 before being appointed his country's foreign minister at the age of 40. Then he became prime minister, from 2014 to 2015.
It was Finland's candidacy for NATO that motivated its return to the political arena. “When the homeland calls you, you go,” Alexander Stubb said on his return. “I believe that one of the most important tasks of the next presidential term will be to work to preserve the rules-based international system,” he said at the time.