New Finland President sworn-in

Alexander Stubb took the oath of office as the 13th president of Finland on Friday during a session of the Finnish parliament.

Stubb, 55, succeeded Sauli Niinisto who served as Finland’s head of state for 12 years.

In his inaugural address, Stubb promised to promote an open, safe and international Finland and ensure its continued success.

The new president also called for unity and solidarity among the people, urging them to cherish the traditions of trust, justice and communal support that underpin the Finnish society, and to embrace changes and technological advancements with empathy and adaptability.

Stubb said Finland’s foreign and security policy line is founded on “value-based realism” and elaborated later at a press conference that his line is based on traditional idealism and democratic values, “but combined with accepting the need to talk with those who do not share our values.”

Stubb won the presidential election in February. He once served as Finnish prime minister and foreign minister.

Finland maintains distinct representation within the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with the president attending NATO summits and the prime minister representing the country within the EU. The president and Prime Minister Petteri Orpo both belong to the National Coalition Party.

The presidential transition in Finland came against the backdrop of a major political conflict over the cabinet’s plans to cut back social security and terms of labor.

Addressing the cabinet, Stubb pledged support for the government’s efforts to stabilize the economy.

Stubb is proficient in English, French and German, in addition to Finland’s two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

He said his first planned trip abroad as president will be in Norway, where he will inspect a NATO maneuver. Finland joined the military alliance last year.

Sweden will be the destination of his first official state visit, according to tradition.