New Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin brushed aside the media frenzy over her appointment as the world's youngest serving head of government at age 34, pledging a sharp focus on climate policies as she made her debut at an EU summit.
Marin took office on Tuesday after the Centre Party withdrew support from Social Democrat leader Antti Rinne, forcing him to step down as prime minister. Marin became the world's youngest national leader, and all five leaders of the parties in her coalition are women, four of them under 35.
‘I haven't concentrated that much on the media coverage of the change of government or my prime ministership. I have concentrated on the fact that we have a lot of work to do,’ Marin told reporters on Thursday as she arrived for two days of European Union summit talks in Brussels.
She has been congratulated by female political leaders from around the world, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen - who last month became the first female leader of the EU executive - and Hillary Clinton.
‘Interview requests keep pouring in from journalists,’ Marin's spokeswoman said.
Marin, who has spoken about growing up in a disadvantaged family, is a left-winger within her party and a strong defender of Finland's generous welfare state.
A long-time fan of alternative metal band Rage Against The Machine, she has said she ‘dreams of free day care’ for all to add to Finland's public education, which is already free of charge from primary school to university.
Marin shook hands and chatted with EU leaders as they gathered for a summit at which they will lock horns over climate change, with eastern European states threatening to stall he bloc's new push to become climate neutral by 2050.
‘The new generations are expecting us to act and we have to fulfil the expectations of the people,’ Marin said. ‘I'm worried about this climate issue. We have to do more, we have to do it faster.’
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