President Mauno Koivisto 1923–2017
Foreign Minister Soini at 22 May press conference on arrangements for state funeral of former president Mauno Koivisto.
- The arrangements are premised on the idea that all Finns should be able to pay tribute to president Koivisto in one way or another.
- Mauno Koivisto had a rich and varied life. A child born to a humble home became a war veteran, a dockworker, a doctoral degree holder, a father, husband, statesman, President of the Republic and many other things besides.
- You could say that president Koivisto’s career reflects the hundred-year history of independent Finland. Difficulties were overcome, education and work brought prosperity, and a profound vision helped in finding a place in this world.
- Finland, as we know it, did not simply “happen”. It was built and forged into what it is today: A Nordic, democratic and secure country. Mauno Koivisto was a strong advocate of parliamentarism and democracy. Many of his policy lines have shaped Finland into the society that it is today. It is the responsibility of our generation to take care that we do not lose this forward-looking attitude.
- A compelling narrative is only one element of our Finnishness. Symbols are also important for us as a nation: the flag of Finland, the national anthem and heads of state. A state funeral is the nation’s way of showing respect not only for a former head of state but also for Finland and the way of life in this country. Indeed, it is this side of the life of Mauno Koivisto that will be highlighted on the day of the funeral.
- A funeral is a sad occasion. But there is another side to it, too. A funeral provides us an opportunity to remember the life of the deceased. It gives us a chance to celebrate that person's achievements and the fact that, for the rest of us, life goes on. Thursday 25 May marks both the past, the present and the future. I think that this is a good moment to recall a quotation that Mauno Koivisto considered important for himself:
If we can't know for sure what will happen, let's assume that all will be well.
- I hope that on Thursday 25 May we will all take a moment to reflect and to remember Mauno Koivisto’s lifetime, as statesman and president. I hope that this Thursday will be a special day for all of us, because it is also a day that belongs to Finland.