Sweden's first female Prime Minister visits Finland

The official visit maintains the Nordic neighbours' tradition that the Prime Ministers of Finland and Sweden meet each other soon after taking office.

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) met her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson in Helsinki on Wednesday. Image: Benjamin Suomela / Yle

Sweden's newly appointed Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is visiting Finland on Wednesday at the invitation of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP).

The official visit marks Andersson's first trip abroad as prime minister, and maintains the tradition that the premiers of Finland and Sweden meet each other soon after taking office. Marin's first trip abroad as Finland's PM was also to Sweden.

Welcoming her counterpart to Helsinki at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Marin outlined the importance of Finnish-Swedish bilateral relations.

"Our cooperation is natural and based on common values: democracy, openness, rule of law and the welfare state. I am looking forward to our continued close cooperation," Marin said, adding that combating climate change and challenges facing the forestry industry are also common priorities for the Nordic neighbours.

Echoing Marin's comments, Andersson said it was important for her to make Helsinki her first destination as Prime Minister because of the "profound and long relationship" between Finland and Sweden.

"This relationship is important for many different aspects: our security, our defence capability and our crisis preparedness," Andersson said. "I appreciate our close cooperation on security and defence, and I hope this can be developed further even in the coming years."

Both PMs also responded to a press question about NATO membership, asked in light of Russian President Vladimir Putin's demand that the military alliance should no longer seek to expand east.

"If Finland ever considered joining NATO, the decision would be ours alone," Marin said.

Sweden, like Finland, is not a NATO member but retains close diplomatic ties with the alliance.

"NATO membership is not on the table now," Andersson replied.

During her visit, Andersson will also meet with Finland's President Sauli Niinistö.

Andersson leads minority government

Social Democratic Party leader Magdalena Andersson became Sweden's 34th — and first female — Prime Minister two weeks ago.

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Andersson became Sweden's first female PM in November. Image: Adam Ihse / AFP

Her first term in office was short lived however, lasting just seven hours, with Reuters reporting that she tendered her resignation (siirryt toiseen palveluun) after a junior coalition partner left the government over a lost budget vote.

She was nevertheless re-elected last week to lead a minority government in Sweden's Riksdagen Parliament.

Andersson previously served as Minister of Finance in former PM Stefan Löfven's government, and was elected to succeed Löfven as leader of the Social Democrats in early November.