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Marin to meet with Google, Apple CEOs at Davos conference

Sanna Marin is the first Finnish premier to attend the World Economic Forum in five years.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto will represent Finland, along with Employment Minister Tuula Haatainen. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva, Petteri Sopanen / Yle
Yle News

Prime Minister Sanna Marin will attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, in late January, her office said on Friday.

Marin's office says she will speak and take part in panel discussions on topics including climate change and the Arctic, equality and well-being, as well as the future of Europe.

During the 22-24 January conference, Marin also meet with leaders of major tech firms including Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft President Brad Smith to discuss "new technologies and data policy, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development and job creation," the statement says. Google has a major data centre in Hamina, while Microsoft shut down its product development operations in Finland in 2016.

The PM will talk about sustainable development and Africa's future with Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo as well as health policy and the rights of women and girls with WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Media attention

Marin is also to hold one-on-one meetings with German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and WEF founder Klaus Schwab.

Having taken office as the world's youngest PM in December, Marin is also expected to be the subject of much media attention, with numerous interviews scheduled. On Thursday, Newsweek placed Marin first in a list of "other big names expected to attend" ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and climate activist Greta Thunberg – and behind only US PresidentDonald Trump.

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A Swiss police guard during the 2019 Davos conference. Image: Laurent Gillieron / EPA

Also representing Finland will be Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Employment Minister Tuula Haatainen. Due to their trip, a cabinet meeting on employment planned for 22 January will be postponed for a week.

First PM since Stubb

Each January, the WEF brings an array of top government, corporate and other leaders to a Swiss ski resort. Marin will be the first sitting Finnish prime minister to take part since Alexander Stubb in 2015. His predecessor, Jyrki Katainen, attended the year before, returning in 2018 as a European Commissioner.

Then-Foreign Minister Timo Soini represented Finland in 2017 and 2019, while President Sauli Niinistö has attended at least four times since taking office in 2012.

Director of Government Communications Päivi Anttikoski tells Yle News that Prime Minister Juha Sipilä attended a WEF meeting in Dalian, China in 2017, but never one in Davos. Marin's predecessor, Antti Rinne, did not attend either as he only served from June until December last year.

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