“It really is a unique opportunity,” the new Secretary General stresses. Faith in Nordic co-operation has increased in recent years, both in the Region and beyond. The potential for working more closely together is greater than ever."
A 2017 opinion poll revealed a 90% satisfaction level and 70% support for even closer co-operation. Lehtomäki has experienced the trend at close quarters.
“The Nordic family feels like a stable and reliable partner at a time when the rest of the world is less predictable,” she says.
Co-operation must be relevant to the people of the Region.
The Secretary General stresses the importance of work focusing on issues relevant to the people of the Region in both the short- and long-term. It is also important to make Nordic values and experiences visible in global arenas.
“The political priorities for the Council of Ministers' budget in 2019 – digitalisation, mobility and international profiling – are in line with what I think the people of the Region expect. We must keep up to date and take advantage of new opportunities to facilitate freedom of movement. We also have a duty to share our knowledge and experiences with the rest of the world."
Paula Lehtomäki is the first woman and the youngest person ever to hold the post of Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.
“I think it is an important signal that the Nordic Council of Ministers chose a younger woman in the middle of her career as the new Secretary General,” she says with a smile.