For the First Time Ever, Finland Picks a Female EU Commissioner

(Bloomberg) -- Finland is putting forward Jutta Urpilainen as its candidate for the European Commission, the first time the Nordic nation is proposing a woman for the job.

“We have had a male commissioner for 25 years,” Urpilainen said after Prime Minister designate Antti Rinne unveiled her candidacy in Helsinki on Tuesday. “Now that Finland has an opportunity to propose a commissioner for the sixth time, it’s great that it’s now a woman’s turn.”

Urpilainen, 43, is Finland’s former finance minister. She garnered fame during the euro zone’s debt crisis for demanding collateral in exchange for the northernmost euro member’s participation in bailouts of faltering nations sharing the single currency.

As commissioner, she would succeed Erkki Liikanen, former Bank of Finland governor who served two terms in Brussels, Olli Rehn, current head of the Finnish central bank who also was a member of two Commission cabinets and Jyrki Katainen, a vice president of the European Union’s executive arm.

Separately, as part of putting together a government for Finland, Rinne also proposed:

  • Tytti Tuppurainen as minister for European affairs
  • Ville Skinnari as minister for development cooperation and foreign trade
  • Sirpa Paatero as minister for municipal affairs and government ownership steering
  • Timo Harakka as minister for employment
  • Krista Kiuru as minister for family affairs and social services
  • Sanna Marin as minister for transport

Earlier on Tuesday, the Swedish People’s Party proposed Anna-Maja Henriksson as justice minister and Thomas Blomqvist as minister for Nordic cooperation and equality. The Greens are due to decide on their minister later today, and the Center Party on Wednesday. It’s not clear when the Left Alliance is ready to make its proposals.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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