Alexander Stubb, a Europhile at the top of Finnish politics

Alexander Stubb, Sunday in Helsinki, during the announcement of the presidential results.
LEHTIKUVA / REUTERS

It was Finland’s candidacy for NATO, which he had always supported, which motivated the great return of this diplomacy enthusiast, encouraged by his Kokoomus movement, the historic party of the Finnish right.

Former prime minister and leader of the national conservative party, away from Finnish political life for seven years, the Europhile Alexander Stubb made a thunderous return on Sunday with his election on Sunday to the presidency of the Republic.

This 55-year-old man has headed the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, for the past three years, after withdrawing from public affairs due to failure to secure the post of President of the European Commission in 2018. Initially a researcher in political science, he had a dazzling European career, as an advisor to the EU then elected MEP in 2004 before being called as Minister of Foreign Affairs at the age of 40.

He became Prime Minister from 2014 to 2015, before moving to Finance in a centrist government. Alexander Stubb lost the presidency of the Conservative Party in 2016. It was Finland’s candidacy for NATO, which he had always supported, which motivated the great return of this diplomacy enthusiast, encouraged by his lifelong formation, Kokoomus, a historic party of the Finnish right whose leader Petteri Orpo is now head of government.

“When the homeland calls you, you go”had launched Alexander Stubb, who is easily called +Alex+, when announcing his candidacy. “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 emphasized.

“At the heart of NATO”

Married to an English lawyer, this father of two children believes that Finland must “go to the heart of NATO”, “produce, not consume, security”. In 2014, he caused controversy by participating, in shorts, in a press conference on the situation in Ukraine. Later, he attracted the wrath of the media for dressing up as a human dartboard in an amusement park.

By his own admission, one of his biggest mistakes as prime minister was giving the green light to the construction of a nuclear power plant in cooperation with the Russian state-owned company Rosatom. Triathlon enthusiast and marathon runner, Alexander Stubb took a break from competitions to concentrate on the race for the presidency.

At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his time had changed the eating habits of the services. Pastries and coffee had been replaced by fruit and diet drinks. With his smile and his extensive address book, he has served as a commentator in local and international media since his retirement from public life.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine allowed him to recall that in 2008 he predicted that the war between Russia and Georgia would mark a turning point in foreign policy. In addition to Finnish, he speaks Swedish, English, French and German fluently. He studied at the College of Europe in Belgium, the London School of Economics, Furman University (South Carolina) in the United States and the Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris.

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