Yle’s long-time EU correspondent Susanna Turunen has been chosen as the first European of the Year in Finland. She was granted the award by the European Finland (Eurooppalainen Suomi), the umbrella organisation for pro-EU movements in Finland, on the occasion of Europe Day on Saturday.
Turunen said she is grateful to share the award with many luminaries including prime ministers, European commissioners and cultural figures
"It is a tremendous honour especially because this is being granted for the first time in Finland," Turunen told Yle from Brussels.
Turunen first worked as Yle's Brussels correspondent from 2007 to 2012, following which she served as an EU special editor. She became Yle's EU correspondent in Brussels again last September.
According to the long-time foreign correspondent, Europeanness is in her blood.
"For me, Europeanness means more than the EU — it is a great entity of history, culture, languages, views, diversity, religion... It always gives rise to something new. It's a great place."
Turunen states that some of the most interesting moments of her career as an EU correspondent was during European crises, such as the financial crisis.
She said she the coronavirus crisis as a threat to the EU, but not to Europeanness.
"It has been difficult to find a common tone on how to deal with this together. One thing that has become clear is that no one can survive this alone. How this translates into policy is one big question mark that is certainly on everyone's minds at the moment," Turunen said.