Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s statement following the death of former Finnish president Mauno Koivisto
Yesterday evening I received the very sad news that Finland’s former president Mauno Koivisto had passed away. Both personally and on behalf of the Finnish Government, I offer my deepest condolences to Mauno Koivisto’s family and relatives.
We have lost a person who had a huge influence on our country's history. He was a war veteran and a patriot who firmly guided the nation through a difficult recession and towards membership of the European Union. President Koivisto represented a unique combination of expertise in finance, economics and foreign policy. His understanding of Russian affairs was unrivalled. The date of Koivisto’s death, 12 May, is not without symbolism, as this is the day on which, each year, we honour nineteenth century Finnish statesman J.V. Snellman and celebrate Finnish heritage.
Koivisto was a prime example of the opportunities provided to young people in modern Finland. A talented son of a ship’s carpenter, he acquired a higher academic degree and then a doctorate, and advanced to very demanding positions in Finnish society, finally becoming President of the Republic of Finland. All this was achieved through his own efforts, having had to take responsibility for himself and his family already at the age of ten, following the death of his mother.
Mauno Koivisto represented what is best about Finland: anyone can succeed, and everyone has the opportunity. Mauno Koivisto’s family, relatives and friends, you are in our thoughts at this time of great sorrow.