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News, 4/1/2008

National Coalition Party proposes Alexander Stubb as foreign minister

Alexander StubbForeign Minister Ilkka Kanerva having been granted sick leave on 1 April, the National Coalition Party has selected MEP Alexander Stubb to be the new Minister for Foreign Affairs. The intention is for the new foreign minister to be appointed during the presidential session on Friday 4 April. Neither the current nor the future foreign minister will attend the NATO Summit to be held in Bucharest this week.

The Finnish News Agency STT: Finnish Conservatives name Stubb foreign minister

Finland's National Coalition party confirmed Tuesday it had chosen Alexander Stubb, a member of the European Parliament since 2004, to replace Ilkka Kanerva as foreign minister.

Jyrki Katainen, the finance minister and Conservative leader, had said earlier on Tuesday that Mr Kanerva could not carry on as foreign minister. The announcement came the day a magazine published the contents of a string of text messages sent by Mr Kanerva to an erotic dancer.

Mr Katainen said Mr Stubb was well versed in foreign and EU policy issues. He added the decision to choose Mr Stubb as Mr Kanerva's successor had been unanimous.

Mr Stubb, 40, has served as an aide to Romano Prodi, the previous head of the European commission, as well as in the Finnish government's EU secretariat and Finland's permanent representation to the European Union. With a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Mr Stubb is an EU scholar at the College of Europe in Bruges.

Mr Stubb is a supporter of full membership in Nato and has often made it clear that he does not understand Finland's official non-alignment policy. In addition, he is of the opinion that the Finnish president is not needed at EU summits.

He said at the news conference that cooperation with President Tarja Halonen, a frequent traveller to EU summits, would run smoothly.


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Updated 4/1/2008

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