Inauguration speech by President of the Republic of Finland Alexander Stubb on 1 March 2024

Mr Speaker, representatives of the Finnish people

Having been elected the 13th President of the Republic and having given a solemn affirmation before you, I will take up my duties feeling humble and grateful.

I feel humble because I have been given the mandate and the responsibility for this demanding position directly by the Finnish people. And I feel grateful for the opportunity to serve our dear home country in these difficult times.

The biggest winner of the election was the Finnish democracy. We showed the world how democracy can be implemented in a constructive spirit respectful of others. Let us be proud of it. The thanks belong to my fellow candidates, you, honourable parliament members and the people of Finland. To all of us.


I thank you, President Niinistö, for the valuable work you have done for the benefit of Finnish people. I also want to extend my thanks to you, Dr Jenni Haukio, for the selfless service you have given to our country.

In her inauguration speech in 2006, President Tarja Halonen emphasised that change is a constant in the world. You, President Niinistö, lived that change for 12 years. You always put the security of Finland and the Finns first.

You led the country through tumultuous times. You worked tirelessly for the benefit of all of us. At the same time, you showed that we will do well as a nation as long as we stand together. And we did.


We are now facing a new era. As a result of allying ourselves militarily and joining NATO we have taken the final step into the Western community of values, where the Republic of Finland has belonged to in spirit throughout its independence.

The post-cold war era is over. It ended with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The things that were supposed to bring us together – interdependence, trade, technology, energy, information, and currency – are now tearing us apart. The instruments of cooperation have been weaponised. At the same time, the cooperation within Europe has further intensified. And that is good.

We are experiencing the 1918, 1945 and 1989 moment of our generation. This is a period when we understand that the world is changing, but we do not yet know exactly where it is going. Power is being redistributed, with struggles taking place in the global West, East and South.


We had gotten used to the idea of “the end of history”, meaning, that most of the world’s nation states would advance towards liberal democracy, market economy and globalisation. That did not happen. Now the international institutions and rules we are used to are being called to challenge. We live in a world of unrest and disorder.

It takes time to build a new world order. We will see regionalization of power as well as unholy alliances, In other words, a kind of an à la carte world, where allies are cherry-picked. We must remain alert.

Internationally, Finland punches above its weight. By our example and modus operandi we can contribute to what the new world order will become like. We are a reliable partner with countries in all directions, but we will always put our values and interests first. And the best way to do that is by means of active and constructive participation in the international arena.


Finland’s foreign and security policy is founded on value-based realism. Its starting point is a strong alliance with the European Union and NATO. At the same time, it is based on the belief that the foundation of the new international system and peace lies in reforming and strengthening the UN.

Our foreign policy is has its firm base on Western values, including democracy, the rule of law and human rights. We believe in cooperation and the rules-based international system.

At the same time, our security policy is based on realism. That is why we maintain a strong defence capability – now, as part of a military alliance. It is also realism to understand that the great global challenges cannot be solved only between likeminded countries.


Even though the world seems to be in chaos right now, we should not despair. Fear is the worst possible guiding principle in foreign policy. Yes, we will come to see strategic competition. Yes, we will come to see local, even regional conflicts.  

But the need for cooperation will not go anywhere. It will only change its form. We all understand that without global cooperation we cannot mitigate climate change, solve conflicts, boost the economy, enhance wellbeing or manage immigration. These are all things that must be done together. 

We will be facing things we are not used to. And uncertainty, which may sometimes even scare us. However, we must not react to every little noise. In foreign and security policy, it is always advisable to remain calm. But let us prepare ourselves also for the fact that sometimes we need to react rapidly to changing circumstances, as we did with NATO membership.


Lately, the public debate and rhetorics have been bellingerent. We are talking a lot about weapons, munitions and armies. This, of course, derives from the fact that we live in a world where there are wars going on in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

However, this bellicose rhetoric must not overshadow the fact that we Finns are a peace-loving nation. Or the fact that the main duty of the President of the Republic under any circumstances is to ensure that we in Finland can live in peace. This, I promise to do. However, if push comes to shove, I am ready to make difficult decisions to ensure the security of our country.

We must work for peace as well. President Martti Ahtisaari was one of the most significant peace mediators in world history. We must cherish and carry on his legacy. Whenever we are given an opportunity to mediate peace, we will be ready for it. Alongside diplomacy, another critical element of maintaining peace is the readiness and capabilities of the Finnish Defence Forces.


The most essential cornerstones of our society are trust, justice and communality. If someone is not coping, we come together to help them. Our open society is based on freedom of speech, a well-functioning civil society and the rule of law. Let us hold on to them.

So, let us cherish the traditions upon which Finland has been built throughout its independence. We are a tenacious, unyielding and civilised nation. We will not give up. We are ready to fight for our values.

We must avoid polarisation. It is always easier to state your opinion than to listen to what the other party has to say. Let us focus on the matters that unite us as Finns. Let us invest not only in security but also in mental and physical wellbeing – in other words, in culture, arts and physical exercise. They unite us.


We live in the middle of a rapidly advancing technological revolution. It will change the economy and the way we do our work. It will change the politics and the way we communicate. And it will change science and even the way we define humanity.

We live in a world where artificial intelligence and robotisation are capable of doing many of the things we used to do as humans. However, there is one thing in which we humans are still better. That is empathy, caring for others.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a message from a friend of mine. She wrote the following: “You know that I always think that, ultimately, there are more things that unite us than those that separate us. In politics, colour is seldom the decisive matter. There, it has more impact if you have an open mind to other people and different kinds of ideas. If you can meet someone halfway, challenge them, have an intense debate with them but still build bridges and seek compromise. If you have the will, you will always find a way forward. But still, the most important thing is to truly see the other person and give them a chance.” This message applies to us all. Every one of us.


As President of the Republic of Finland, I lead Finland’s foreign policy in cooperation with the Government. I hold good cooperation with Parliament in high esteem. For my own part, I will take care that our cooperation will work seamlessly. Even when led by someone, foreign policy is a team sport.

By various metrics and indicators, Finland is the best country in the world. So, let us make sure together that it will remain that way in the future as well. As the 13th President of the Republic of Finland, I will do my best for our home country, every single day. The position is greater than the person holding it.  The President always stands on the shoulders of his predecessors, with the trust vested on him by the Finnish people in his heart.

I will now set off to promote the success of our nation with all my vigour and determination. I promise to work for an open, safe and international Finland. I promise to defend democracy, the freedom of speech and the rule of law in all situations. I promise to listen, discuss and care. I promise to fight to ensure that Finland will remain a good country in the future as well – the best country in the world for us Finns.

Thank you.

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