Prime Minister Vanhanen confident of Stubb’s qualifications as Foreign Minister
No change to Bucharest programme
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) said on Tuesday that he was “sad at the loss of a professional”, when he commented on the departure of Minister for Foreign Affairs Ilkka Kanerva (Nat. Coalition Party).
Vanhanen who was in New York to speak at the United Nations General Assembly, did not want to comment on the text messages published by the gossip magazine Hymy, because he “hadn’t seen them”. He noted that he heard that they were personal in nature, and that they did not make any reference to professional misconduct on Kanerva’s part.
"Even a minister has free time. One must not assume that a minister is at his job 24 hours a day.”
Vanhanen would not say if he felt that Hymy had any socially relevant reasons to publish the text messages.
According to Vanhanen, the Kanerva case has not sullied Finland’s reputation or damaged the handling of external relations.
“There’s no point in exaggerating.”
The new Foreign Minister, Alexander Stubb of the National Coalition Party, has good basic readiness for his work, in Vanhanen’s opinion, but with his age in mind (40), he cannot be seen to have the experience of the 60-year-old Ilkka Kanerva.
The programme of the delegation representing Finland at the NATO summit which begins in the Romanian capital Bucharest on Wednesday will not change, even though Foreign Minister Kanerva will not attend.
President Tarja Halonen will represent Finland at a luncheon, and at a meeting on Afghanistan. Minister of Defence Jyri Häkämies (Nat. Coalition Party) will represent Finland at a ministerial lunch.
Finnish representatives will take part in a lunch of NATO members states, as well as countries participating in the Partnership for Peace programme.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Foreign Minister Kanerva to Slovenia; controversial SMS messages may be published next week (27.3.2008)
PROFILE: Alex Stubb is too smart to make trouble (2.4.2008)
MEP Alexander Stubb to replace Ilkka Kanerva as Foreign Minister (1.4.2008)