Pekka Olavi Haavisto (born 23 March 1958) is a Finnish politician of the Green League who served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2019 to 2023.

Pekka Haavisto
Haavisto in 2023
Member of the Finnish Parliament
for Helsinki
Assumed office
21 March 2007
In office
21 March 1987 – 23 March 1995
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
6 June 2019 – 20 June 2023
Prime MinisterAntti Rinne
Sanna Marin
Preceded byTimo Soini
Succeeded byElina Valtonen
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
Pekka Olavi Haavisto

(1958-03-23) 23 March 1958 (age 66)
Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Political partyGreen League
Domestic partnerNexar Antonio Flores (2002–present)

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.

Haavisto finished second in the Finnish presidential elections in 2012, 2018 and 2024; twice to Sauli Niinistö and finally to Alexander Stubb. Haavisto became the first openly gay candidate to run for the presidency of Finland.

Political career

Pertti Salolainen and Pekka Haavisto in 1994

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.[1][2][3]

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.[4] Haavisto also represented the UNEP in the investigations in the Baia Mare mining accident in Romania.[5] In 2005 he was appointed as the special representative of the European Union in Sudan where he participated in the Darfur peace talks.[6]

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

Presidential election 2012

Pekka Haavisto in 2011.

In 2011, Haavisto was nominated as the Green League candidate for the Finnish presidential election of 2012.[7] 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), coming second to National Coalition Party candidate, former Finance Minister Sauli Niinistö.[8] Haavisto was the first openly gay candidate and the first male candidate to have served in civil service instead of the military service to make it to the second round of a presidential election in Finland.

Presidential election 2018


In February 2017, Haavisto announced that he would reprise his candidacy in the 2018 presidential election.[9] The decision came after Haavisto had been approached multiple times by the Green League.[10] 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.[11]

Return as chairman


In October 2018, the chairman of the Green League Touko Aalto announced that he was resigning from his post, citing depression and fatigue.[12] 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.[13] On 4 November 2018, he defeated MP Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto in the leadership election and became temporary chairman.[14]

In June 2019, Haavisto stepped down as the chairman of the party. He was succeeded by Maria Ohisalo.[15]

Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2019–2023

Haavisto signing Finland's application for NATO membership in 2022

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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[17]

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

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. The events were leaked to the press causing a political crisis.[18] Haavisto quickly reverted his decision to demote the official and offered him the same position as earlier. The Committee declared it had not found reason to bring criminal charges against the foreign minister, due to the minister's higher than usual prosecution threshold required by the constitution,[19] but specified that Haavisto had operated in contravention to the Administration Law and the Foreign Relations Act. Two Green League MPs published a dissenting opinion and advocated for a softer verdict, causing controversy in the Committee.[20][21][22] In Parliament, Haavisto received the Parliament's support in a 101-68 interpellation vote. Haavisto's decision to return the refugees received the Parliament's support on a 110-79 interpellation vote.[23][24]

In February and March 2021, Haavisto was under criminal investigation for an alleged Highway Code violation in December 2020. The complaint originated from a video recorded by a reporter for the gossip magazine Seiska, which included commentary that Haavisto had not stopped for two pedestrian crossings. The prosecutor who reviewed the video evidence decided to not to press charges, citing construction work that had disabled the first crossing and created an unclear situation for the other.[25]

Haavisto meets with IAEA Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi during his official visit at the Agency headquarters in Vienna, Austria. 1 November 2022.
Haavisto meets with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Washington in May 2022.

Haavisto was appointed EU's special envoy to Ethiopia during the Tigray War. In February 2021, Haavisto stated that violence and suffering in Ethiopia was "out of control" and could cause a large refugee crisis.[26][27] In June 2021, he briefed the European Parliament on the conflict.[28] Haavisto warned of a possible ethnic cleansing of Tigrayans, stating that Ethiopia's leaders in closed-door talks said "they are going to wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years." Ethiopia's foreign ministry dismissed Haavisto's comments as "ludicrous" and a "hallucination of sorts or a lapse in memory of some kind."[29] Haavisto stated that Ethiopian criticism will have no effect on his work as envoy and referred to an upcoming UN human rights report on the situation.[30]

On 17 May 2022, Haavisto signed Finland's application to join NATO.[31] Haavisto visited Kyiv in November, stating that "Finland strongly condemns Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. We will continue our firm support to Ukraine as long as necessary."[32]

2024 presidential election


In June 2023, Haavisto announced that he would reprise his candidacy in the 2024 Finnish presidential election as an independent candidate.[33] Haavisto finished second in the first round of voting held on 18 January 2024 and later lost to Alexander Stubb in the runoff on 11 February 2024. Stubb officially took office as the 13th President of Finland on 1 March 2024.

Other activities


Personal life


After completing the matriculation examination of the upper secondary school,[36] Haavisto began studying social sciences at the University of Helsinki. He dropped the studies after a year and did not complete the degree.[37] As a young man he chose civil service over military service in the Defence Forces.[38]

Haavisto is openly gay. Although his homosexuality was an open secret during the 1990s, his sexual orientation wasn't public until 2002, when he entered in a registered partnership with Antonio Flores,[39] an Ecuadorian man born in Esmeraldas in 1978. They have been together since 1997 when they met in a Bogotá night club.[36][40][41]

According to the ranking of the Finnish Ulkopolitiikka magazine in 2009, Haavisto was internationally the 5th most influential person in Finland.[42][43]




  1. ^ "Personal information of representative". Parliament of Finland. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  2. ^ "Details of minister". Finnish Government Communications Unit. Retrieved 23 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Pekka Haavisto in brief". Suomi-Finland 2012 ry. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  4. ^ "UNEP samples from depleted uranium sites in Kosovo now being analyzed in five laboratories". NATO. 5 January 2001. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "Sudan: EU Special Representative Pekka Haavisto hopeful about peace in Darfur". ReliefWeb. 28 September 2005. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  7. ^ "The Greens of Finland, Presidential elections candidate". Green League. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Presidential elections: Niinistö, Haavisto headed for second round". Finnish Broadcasting Company. 22 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Vihreiden Pekka Haavisto lähtee presidenttikisaan – "Pitää katsoa eteenpäin seuraavaan sataan vuoteen"" (in Finnish). Helsingin sanomat. 11 February 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Vuoden 2018 presidenttipeli vielä auki – he saattavat havitella paikkaa" (in Finnish). Helsingin sanomat. 1 May 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Presidentinvaali 2018, 1. vaali: Ehdokkaiden äänet" (in Finnish). Ministry of Justice. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Greens chair Touko Aalto steps down: "I need more time for recovery"". Yle. 24 October 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Pekka Haavisto asettuu ehdolle vihreiden puheenjohtajaksi – kuvailee viiden kuukauden tynkäpestiä "ei ihan helpoimmaksi hommaksi"". Yle. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "Maria Ohisalo – parissa kuukaudessa ensin kansanedustajaksi, sitten ministeriksi ja nyt vihreiden puheenjohtajaksi". Yle Uutiset (in Finnish). Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  16. ^ Tarmo Virki (4 June 2019), Finland's Greens name Haavisto as foreign minister in new government Reuters.
  17. ^ a b Sam Fleming, Michael Peel and Henry Foy (4 September 2019), Finland urges EU to step up efforts to improve Russia ties Financial Times.
  18. ^ "Timeline: The foreign ministry flap over repatriating Finns from al-Hol refugee camp". 10 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Ylen tiedot: Perustuslakivaliokunnan mukaan Pekka Haavisto on toiminut lainvastaisesti, mutta syytekynnys ei ylity – vihreät jättää vastalauseen". 9 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Finnish minister to face no charges over push to bring home Islamic State children". Reuters. 9 December 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "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 the foreign minister Pekka Haavisto's official actions has been completed]. Parliament of Finland (in Finnish). 9 December 2020. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Foreign Minister wins confidence vote over al-Hol furore". 18 December 2019.
  24. ^ "KK 368/2019 vp".
  25. ^ "Liikenne | Syyttäjä kumosi Seiskan väitteet ulkoministeri Pekka Haaviston törttöilyistä liikenteessä". 4 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Ethiopia war creating new 'refugee crisis', EU envoy warns". EUobserver. 24 February 2021.
  27. ^ "Ethiopia: Time to tell the truth, Ambassador". EUobserver. 9 March 2021.
  28. ^ "Ethiopia slams FM Haavisto for saying Ethiopian leaders vowed to "wipe out ethnic Tigrayans"". Yle. 19 June 2021.
  29. ^ "EU envoy: Ethiopian leadership vowed to 'wipe out' Tigrayans". Associated Press. 18 June 2021.
  30. ^ "Finnish FM: EU envoy work continues despite Ethiopian criticism". Euractiv. 23 June 2022.
  31. ^ "Ulkoministeri Haavisto allekirjoitti historiallisen hakemuksen Nato-neuvottelujan aloittamisesta". Kaleva. 17 May 2022.
  32. ^ "Minister for Foreign Affairs Haavisto visited Ukraine". Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 28 November 2022.
  33. ^ "Pekka Haavisto lähtee presidenttikisaan valitsijayhdistyksen ehdokkaana". Yle. 8 June 2023. Retrieved 6 July 2023.
  34. ^ Members European Council on Foreign Relations.
  35. ^ Advisory Council European Institute of Peace (EIP).
  36. ^ a b "Official Finnish Parliament page for the MP". Archived from the original on 27 October 2007.
  37. ^ "Tämän verran Haavisto opiskeli" (in Finnish). Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  38. ^ Tanhuanpää, Asko. "Rauhanturvaajalehti - Sivari, joka sai sotilasansiomitalin".
  39. ^ Juvonen, Tuula. 2016. “Out and Elected: Political Careers of Openly Gay and Lesbian Politicians in Germany and Finland”. Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory 19 (1): 49–71. DOI:
  40. ^ Lakka, Päivi (13 April 2019). "Antonio-puoliso teki vaivihkaa muutoksen Pekka Haaviston ulkonäköön". Ilta-Sanomat.
  41. ^ "Nexar Antonio Flores avautuu vaikeasta nuoruudestaan: "Jouduin jättämään kotini"".
  42. ^ Yle election discussion program 26 January 2012 21:00-22.00
  43. ^ Suomalaiset vaikuttajat maailmalla Archived 21 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine Ulkopolitiikka 2/2009
  44. ^ "Medaljregn inför självständighetsdagen – Sanna Marin, Pekka Haavisto och Björn Wahlroos får utmärkelser". Hufvudstadsbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 12 January 2023.
  45. ^ "Tunnetulle sivarille sotilasansiomitali". Uusi Suomi (in Finnish). 4 June 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
  46. ^ "Tuula Haataiselle ja Pekka Haavistolle ranskalainen kunniamerkki". Ambassade de France à Helsinki (in Finnish). Retrieved 12 January 2023.
Party political offices
Preceded by Chairperson of the Green League
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairperson of the Green League
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Environment
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for International Development
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by