Pekka Haavisto

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Pekka Haavisto
UM Haavisto (cropped).jpg
Haavisto in 2019
Member of the Finnish Parliament
for Helsinki
Assumed office
21 March 2007
In office
21 March 1987 – 23 March 1995
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
6 June 2019
Prime MinisterAntti Rinne
Sanna Marin
Preceded byTimo Soini
Minister of the Environment
In office
13 April 1995 – 15 April 1999
Prime MinisterPaavo Lipponen
Preceded bySirpa Pietikäinen
Succeeded bySatu Hassi
Minister for International Development
In office
11 October 2013 – 26 September 2014
Prime MinisterJyrki Katainen
Alexander Stubb
Preceded byHeidi Hautala
Succeeded bySirpa Paatero
Personal details
Born (1958-03-23) 23 March 1958 (age 64)
Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Political partyGreen League
Domestic partnerNexar Antonio Flores (since 2002)

Pekka Olavi Haavisto (born 23 March 1958) is a Finnish politician of the Green League who has been serving as the Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2019.

Haavisto returned to the Finnish Parliament in the Finnish parliamentary election of March 2007 after an absence of 12 years and was re-elected in 2011, 2015, and 2019. Between April 1995 and April 1999 he was the Minister of Environment in the Lipponen I Cabinet. In October 2013 he was appointed as the Minister for International Development after Heidi Hautala resigned from the job. He has also been a member of the Helsinki City Council. He was also a candidate for the 2012 Finnish presidential election and 2018 Finnish presidential election coming second and losing to Sauli Niinistö in both times. Haavisto became the first openly gay candidate to run for the presidency of Finland.

In December 2020, the Parliament's Constitutional Law Committee found that foreign minister Haavisto, who had pushed for Finnish children from the al-Hawl refugee camp to be brought to Finland, had broken Finnish law by trying to replace a foreign ministry official who refused to act after a difference of opinion over the repatriation. However, the Committee declared it had not found reason to bring criminal charges against him. Afterwards, the parliament had a vote of confidence on Haavisto. The result was 101–68 in favor of Haavisto. Only one government party member, Hannu Hoskonen of the Centre party, voted "no confidence".[1]

Political career[edit]

Pekka Haavisto in 2011.

Haavisto was a member of the Parliament of Finland from 1987 to 1995. He was the chairperson of the Green League from 1993 to 1995. He served as the Minister of the Environment in Paavo Lipponen's first cabinet between 1995 and 1999. He was the first European cabinet minister representing a Green party.[2][3][4]

From 1999 to 2005, Haavisto worked for the United Nations in various tasks. He led the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) research groups in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia, Palestine and Sudan. He also coordinated the UN investigation in the effects of depleted uranium in Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.[5] Haavisto also represented the UNEP in the investigations in the Baia Mare mining accident in Romania.[6] In 2005 he was appointed as the special representative of the European Union in Sudan where he participated in the Darfur peace talks.[7]

In 2007 and 2011 Haavisto was re-elected to the Parliament from the electoral district of Helsinki.

Presidential election 2012[edit]

Pekka Haavisto speaking about nuclear power at a public meeting in 2012.

In 2011, Haavisto was nominated as the Green League candidate for the Finnish presidential election of 2012.[8] In the first round of the election on 22 January 2012, he finished second with 18.8 percent of the votes. In the run-off on 5 February, he garnered more than one million votes (37.4 percent), yet still losing to the National Coalition Party candidate, former Finance Minister Sauli Niinistö.[9]

Haavisto was the first openly gay candidate and the first male candidate to have served in non-military service instead of the regular military service to make it to the second round of presidential elections in Finland.

Presidential election 2018[edit]

In February 2017, Haavisto announced that he would reprise his candidacy in the 2018 presidential election.[10] The decision came after Haavisto had been approached multiple times by the Green League.[11] In the election, Haavisto placed second with 12.4 percent of the votes, while president Niinistö went on to secure his second term with a majority of votes.[12]

Return as chairman[edit]

Haavisto meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Reykjavik in May 2021.

In October 2018, the chairman of the Green League Touko Aalto announced that he is resigning from his post, citing depression and fatigue.[13] The decision prompted an immediate leadership election, with the goal to elect a temporary chairman to lead the party into the 2019 parliamentary elections and until the next party convention. As many members of the party called for more prominent and experienced politicians to take part in the election, Haavisto announced his candidacy.[14] On 4 November 2018, he defeated MP Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto in a leadership election and was thus chosen to lead the party.[15]

In June 2019, Haavisto stepped down as the chairman of the party. He was succeeded by Maria Ohisalo.[16]

Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2019–present[edit]

Following their best ever result in the 2019 national elections and after becoming part of the incoming governing coalition under the leadership of Prime Minister Antti Rinne, the Green League named Haavisto as the next foreign minister.[17] In this capacity, he chaired the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council during Finland’s rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2019.[18]

In December 2020, the Parliament's Constitutional Law Committee found that Haavisto, who had pushed for Finnish children from the al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria to be brought to Finland quickly in late 2019, had broken Finnish law by trying to replace a foreign ministry official who refused to act after a difference of opinion over the exact repatriation proceedings. However, the Committee declared it had not found reason to bring criminal charges against the foreign minister, but specified that Haavisto had operated in contravention to the Administration Law and the Foreign Relations Act. Two Green League MPs of the Committee voted against the wording and published a dissenting opinion. The Committee's findings were exacerbated after it was reported that a Green League MP had sent an email trying to persuade MPs from government parties on the Committee to soften the wording of the report.[19][20][21]

Other activities[edit]

Political positions[edit]

In 2019, Haavisto called for the EU to intensify efforts on improving relations with Russia in the face of international conflict, transatlantic tensions and Brexit.[24]

Personal life[edit]

After completing the matriculation examination of the upper secondary school,[25] Haavisto began studying social sciences at the University of Helsinki but did not complete the degree.[26] As a young man he chose non-military service over armed service in the Defence Forces.[27]

Haavisto is openly gay. He has been living in a registered partnership with Nexar Antonio Flores (b. 1978), an Ecuadorian man, since 2002. They have been together since 1997 when they met in a Bogotá night club.[25][28][29]

According to the ranking of the Finnish Ulkopolitiikka magazine in 2009, Haavisto was internationally the 5th most influential person in Finland.[30][31]


Haavisto's press conference about the situation in al-Hawl in 2019

Pekka Haavisto was under criminal investigation during his Foreign Minister responsibilities in 2019-2020. Haavisto was in favor of returning Finnish nationals from the Al-Hol refugee camp back to Finland for humanitarian reasons. Minister Haavisto was strongly disagreeing with his ministry consular division for possible means of returning the refugees. Haavisto demoted Director General of Consular Services, Pasi Tuominen, and moved him to other duties in the ministry.

The events were leaked to the Press causing a political crisis.[32] Minister Haavisto quickly reverted his decision to demote Director Tuominen and offered him the same position as earlier. In the Parliament, Haavisto received Parliament's support the interpellation vote for the decision of returning the refugees.[33][34]

Public pressure forced the Parliament to start a legal investigation. The investigation conducted by the Criminal Police focused on three items: Haavisto's possible misuse of the ministerial power, possible actions against Finnish Minister liability, and possible actions against Labor law related collaboration negotiation responsibilities. The verdict would be made by Parliament Committee on Constitutional Affairs, consisting of the members of the Parliament.

In Dec 2020, the Committee announced there were no sufficient grounds for prosecuting Minister Haavisto based on Ministerial Liability Act, yet it heavily criticized Haavisto for his actions against Labor law. During the decision making, the Committee member Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto (green party) was trying to influence the decision making process for lighter verdict for Haavisto against normal Committee practices.[35] The opposition heavily criticized the green party for causing distrust for Committee's decision making, and Haavisto for unlawful actions, and announced submission of an interlocutory question to parliament for Haavisto's future. Haavisto received the Parliament's support in the interpellation vote on 15 December 2020 (101 for, 68 against, and 30 absent).

In February and March 2021 Haavisto was under a criminal investigation for violating the Highway Code in Dec 2020. For the safety of pedestrians, the Highway Code demands drivers to stop before pedestrian crossings, if vehicle is parked right before it, or pedestrian approaches the crossing. A video recorded by newspaper Seiska shows how Haavisto passes two pedestrian crossing in 3 minutes without stopping even though a person is standing near the crossing, and in the second case there is a car is parked right in front of pedestrian crossing. After familiarizing herself with the video evidence, local prosecutor Kaisla Ahla decided to not to press charges, “I will not prosecute the suspected crime, because there are no probable reasons to support the suspect’s guilt.” [36]

On 18 June 2021, four months after visiting Ethiopia as European Union special envoy, Haavisto implied that Ethiopian leaders are committing ethnic cleansing by stating that Ethiopia’s leaders in closed-door talks said “they are going to wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years.” He has not shared meeting memos or any other evidence to support his claim. Haavisto’s special adviser, Otto Turtonen, told The Associated Press that the envoy “has no further comment on this matter.” Ethiopia’s foreign ministry dismissed Haavisto’s comments as “ludicrous” and a “hallucination of sorts or a lapse in memory of some kind.” [37]


  1. ^ "Pekka Haavisto sai eduskunnan luottamuksen äänin 101–68 – Näin suuri sali äänesti". 15 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Personal information of representative". Parliament of Finland. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Details of minister". Finnish Government Communications Unit. Retrieved 23 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Pekka Haavisto in brief". Suomi-Finland 2012 ry. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  5. ^ "UNEP samples from depleted uranium sites in Kosovo now being analyzed in five laboratories". NATO. 5 January 2001. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  6. ^ "UNEP-led Balkans Task Force scientists begin sampling of Danube river in wake of Romania cyanide spill". UNEP. 15 February 1999. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Sudan: EU Special Representative Pekka Haavisto hopeful about peace in Darfur". ReliefWeb. 28 September 2005. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  8. ^ "The Greens of Finland, Presidential elections candidate". Green League. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Presidential elections: Niinistö, Haavisto headed for second round". Finnish Broadcasting Company. 22 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  10. ^ "Vihreiden Pekka Haavisto lähtee presidenttikisaan – "Pitää katsoa eteenpäin seuraavaan sataan vuoteen"" (in Finnish). Helsingin sanomat. 11 February 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Vuoden 2018 presidenttipeli vielä auki – he saattavat havitella paikkaa" (in Finnish). Helsingin sanomat. 1 May 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Presidentinvaali 2018, 1. vaali: Ehdokkaiden äänet" (in Finnish). Ministry of Justice. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Greens chair Touko Aalto steps down: "I need more time for recovery"". Yle. 24 October 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Pekka Haavisto asettuu ehdolle vihreiden puheenjohtajaksi – kuvailee viiden kuukauden tynkäpestiä "ei ihan helpoimmaksi hommaksi"". Yle. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Pekka Haavisto valittiin vihreiden johtoon murskaäänin 40–1 – puolueella on Touko Aallon uupumisen myötä "peiliin katsomisen paikka"". Yle. 4 November 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Maria Ohisalo – parissa kuukaudessa ensin kansanedustajaksi, sitten ministeriksi ja nyt vihreiden puheenjohtajaksi". Yle Uutiset (in Finnish). Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  17. ^ Tarmo Virki (4 June 2019), Finland's Greens name Haavisto as foreign minister in new government Reuters.
  18. ^ Sam Fleming, Michael Peel and Henry Foy (4 September 2019), Finland urges EU to step up efforts to improve Russia ties Financial Times.
  19. ^ "Finnish minister to face no charges over push to bring home Islamic State children". Reuters. 9 December 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Committee rules Foreign Minister Haavisto broke law, but shouldn't be charged — Greens leave dissenting opinion". Yle Uutiset. 9 December 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  21. ^ "Perustuslakivaliokunnan mietintö muistutuksesta ulkoministeri Pekka Haaviston virkatoimen lainmukaisuuden tutkimisesta on valmistunut" [The Constitutional Law Committee's report on the notification of the inquiry into the legality of foreign minister Pekka Haavisto's official actions has been completed]. Parliament of Finland (in Finnish). 9 December 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  22. ^ Members European Council on Foreign Relations.
  23. ^ Advisory Council European Institute of Peace (EIP).
  24. ^ Sam Fleming, Michael Peel and Henry Foy (4 September 2019), Finland urges EU to step up efforts to improve Russia ties Financial Times.
  25. ^ a b "Official Finnish Parliament page for the MP". Archived from the original on 27 October 2007.
  26. ^ "Kuka Pekka Haavisto?". Archived from the original on 13 February 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  27. ^ Tanhuanpää, Asko. "Rauhanturvaajalehti - Sivari, joka sai sotilasansiomitalin".
  28. ^ Lakka, Päivi (13 April 2019). "Antonio-puoliso teki vaivihkaa muutoksen Pekka Haaviston ulkonäköön". Ilta-Sanomat.
  29. ^ "Nexar Antonio Flores avautuu vaikeasta nuoruudestaan: "Jouduin jättämään kotini"".
  30. ^ Yle election discussion program 26 January 2012 21:00-22.00
  31. ^ Suomalaiset vaikuttajat maailmalla Archived 21 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine Ulkopolitiikka 2/2009
  32. ^ "Timeline: The foreign ministry flap over repatriating Finns from al-Hol refugee camp". 10 December 2019.
  33. ^ "Foreign Minister wins confidence vote over al-Hol furore".
  34. ^ "KK 368/2019 vp".
  35. ^ "Kommentti: Haavisto-tapaus paljasti ministerivastuun "luonnottomuuden" – Suomen syytä lopettaa kaksinaismoralistinen Puolan ja Unkarin neuvominen ja siivota ensin omat nurkkansa". 9 December 2020.
  36. ^ "Liikenne | Syyttäjä kumosi Seiskan väitteet ulkoministeri Pekka Haaviston törttöilyistä liikenteessä". 4 March 2021.
  37. ^ "EU envoy: Ethiopian leadership vowed to 'wipe out' Tigrayans". Associated Press. 18 June 2021.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Chairperson of the Green League
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Environment
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs