Independence Day 2019

Speech to Finland

Dear Finland,

The 6th of December is your day of celebration. During your 102 years of independence you have developed into an exemplary country in many respects. It is customary to praise the celebrant but as a Finn, giving praise is sometimes difficult. That’s why we searched around the world for examples on your successes.

It was particularly heart-warming to realise that you are a good country for children.

When children grow up in your fold it is a joy to discover that young people are happy with their life and you give them a strong start in life.

The education and wellbeing you provide generate results that have an impact all the way to adulthood.

Equality is what you are especially known for around the world. You are country where people, irrespective of gender, have good possibilities to be active in society.

  • Finland is the fourth most gender equal country in the world.
    World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Gender Gap Report 2018
  • In Finland, power is divided between genders the third most equally in the EU.
    European Institute of Gender Equality (EIGE), Gender Equality Index 2019: Power
  • According to a comparison made at the beginning of 2019, Finland has second most female MPs in Europe.
    Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women, Women in Politics 2019
  • Finland is the third best country in the world for women.
    Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS) and Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Women, Peace and Security Index 2019

Business activity, innovations and competitiveness are important for modern societies. For someone aged 102, you are exceptionally well versed in digitalisation and innovating. A spry state indeed!

Your special day occurs around the darkest time of the year. Sometimes, we may gripe about the darkness, cold, loud discussions, people who stand too close to us at the bus stop... Despite complaining we are quite content on average. We are also trusting. Sometimes we do question being the happiest country in the world. But that is what they say out in the world.

To paraphrase Tolstoy “all happy countries resemble one another”. In many of the comparisons we have presented you are among the top countries next to other Nordic countries. Based on the comparisons you offer us plenty of reasons to be happy and satisfied.

Fine achievements for a 102 years old. Warmest congratulations and a Happy Independence Day, Finland!

Video ”Well done, Finland!”

Watch the video on YouTube