Finland’s new president sees no limit to NATO ties, Ukraine support

By Anne Kauranen

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Alexander Stubb declared himself winner of Finland’s presidential election on Sunday soon after a campaign created on promises to make the most of his country’s new membership of NATO and again Ukraine in its war with shared neighbour Russia.

In his new job, the centre-right previous prime minister and expenditure banker will head up foreign and protection plan, stand for Finland in NATO conferences and act as Commander-in-Chief of the military.

It is “incredibly critical that we in Europe just take care of our possess defence,” the 55-year-old advised Reuters in the buildup to the vote. He explained he agreed with his predecessor Sauli Niinisto “who explained that we want a extra European NATO”.

The new work marks Stubb’s return to domestic politics immediately after many several years overseas working as vice president of the European Investment decision Financial institution and director at the European University Institute in Florence.

Allies explain him as a multi-lingual, pro-European, fiscal conservative. He describes himself as a moderate.

He would be “a Western president in many approaches” and lean toward the United States, Britain and Nordic neighbours when it arrived to placing the tone of international policy, he advised Reuters.

He would established “no limits” to Finland’s guidance for Ukraine.

“My starting issue is, paraphrasing (European Central Financial institution President) Mario Draghi, regardless of what it can take,” Stubb said.

The Nordic nation joined the Western military services alliance in April very last year, breaking with many years of non-alignment in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Through his election marketing campaign Stubb reported Finland should be an lively NATO member and request to have some NATO troops stationed on its territory.

He has also said he would be prepared to permit nuclear weapons be transported via the nation – however not stored there. “At instances, a nuclear weapon is a warranty of peace,” he explained at a discussion.

Quite a few Finns also see cosmopolitan Stubb as a prospect of the Helsinki elite, according to University of Helsinki political scientist Johanna Vuorelma. “The noticeable and very well-known names of the business entire world are strongly at the rear of Stubb,” Vuorelma reported.

But that was an image he attempted to change for the duration of his campaign, by talking favourably of Finland’s social-democratic welfare product, she included.

As much back again as the 1990s, it was very clear that foreign policy was a single of his strengths, even even though more than the several years there had been issues “in excess of what the stage of his domestic political experience and curiosity in it was,” the head of Finland’s Centre for Parliamentary Experiments, Markku Jokisipila, explained.

Stubb served as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2008 in advance of moving household to kick off a political career capped by a string of ministerial posts – overseas affairs, European affairs and trade, finance and then key minister in 2014-2015. He was ousted in 2016 as chair of the Countrywide Coalition Celebration that he still signifies.

Stubb is a keen amateur athlete and triathlon champion – even though he has mentioned he will slash down on sport once he results in being Finland’s 13th president.

He is married to British-born law firm Suzanne Innes-Stubb, 54, with whom he has two grown-up little ones.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen Modifying by Andrew Heavens)