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Singing Sanna’s Praises1

Business English Magazin - epaper ⋅ Ausgabe 2/2020 vom 31.01.2020

When Sanna Marin became Finland’s Prime Minister in December 2019, she became the world’s youngest currently serving2 head of state3, at just (34) years of age. So, what’s Sanna’s story? Hop on over4 to Helsinki with BEM’s Jonathan Sidor to find out.

On (10) December 2019, Sanna Marin assumed office5 as Prime Minister of Finland. Her young age earned her international headlines6, but not many people have focused on7 her polices. Who is Sanna, and what is her vision for Finland?

Sanna’s Start

Sanna Marin was born on (16) November (1985) in Helsinki, Finland. As a child, she moved around Finland with ...

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... her parents before settling in Tampere. Marin’s family faced financial strife when she was young, and her father had a prolonged battle with alcoholism. Her parents separated, and Marin was brought up by her mother and her mother’s partner from a same-sex relationship.

As a teenager, Marin needed to pull herself up by her own bootstraps12. At 15, she got a job working in a bakery. In high school, she distributed magazines to collect her own pocket money13. She became the first person in her family to complete high school and university. She graduated from the University of Tampere with a master’s degree14 in Administrative Sciences in 2017.

Marin’s political career began in (2006) when she joined the Social Democratic Youth. She was a candidate for the first time in the (2008) Finnish municipal elections, but she failed to15 win election. In 2012, though, she finally garnered16 enough votes to grab her first victory. She was elected17 to Tampere’s City Council when she was just 27. This win got Marin started on what looked like a promising political career.

1 praise preɪz Lob, Lobpreis (2) currently serving ˈkʌrəntli ˈsɜːvɪŋ gegenwärtig aktiv/dienend (3) head of state hed əv steɪt Staatschefin (4) to hop on over tə hɒp ɒn ˈəʊvə(r) (kurz) rüberhüpfen/-kommen (5) to assume office tʊ əˈsjuːm ˈɒfɪs ein Amt antreten/übernehmen (6) to earn sb international headlines tʊ ɜːn ˈsʌmbədi ˌɪntəˈnæʃənl ˈhedlaɪnz jdm. internationale Schlagzeilen einbringen (7) to focus on sth tə ˈfəʊkəs ɒn ˈsʌmθɪŋ sich auf etw. konzentrieren (8) to settle somewhere tə ˈsetl ˈsʌmweə(r) sich irgendwo niederlassen, ansiedeln (9) financial strife faɪˈnænʃəl straɪf finanzieller Kampf/Konflikt (10) prolonged prəʊˈlɒŋd langwierig, ausgedehnt (11) to bring sb up tə brɪŋ ˈsʌmbədi ʌp jdn. aufziehen (12) to pull oneself up by one´s own bootstraps tə pʊl wʌnˈself ʌp baɪ wʌnz əʊn bootstraps sich selbst aus der Patsche helfen (13) pocket money ˈpɒkɪt ˈmʌni Taschengeld (14) master´s degree ˈmɑːstə(r)z dɪˈgriː Master, Masterabschluss (15) to fail to do sth tə feɪl tə dʊ ˈsʌmθɪŋ es nicht schaffen, etw. zu tun (16) to garner sth tə ˈgɑːnə(r) ˈsʌmθɪŋ etw. gewinnen, einsammeln (17) to be elected tə bi ɪˈlektɪd gewählt werden


Appointment of Marin Board of Directors on December 10, 2019


A Political Powerhouse18

Marin remained active in Tampere politics for years. She served as the City Council’s chairperson19 for four years until 2017. At the same time, she sat on the Assembly20 of the Council of the Tampere Region and on the Pirkanmaa Regional Council. She won re-election to the City Council in 2017, but her positions on the national level are what really caught people’s attention21.

Marin has steadily22 climbed the ranks of her Social Democratic Party, Finland’s predominant23 center-left party. In 2014, she was elected to be the party’s second deputy chairperson24. A year later, she was elected as an MP in Finland’s Parliament. She was able to secure25 re-election in 2019. That same year, her party chose her to act as the Minister of Transport and Communications.

While in Parliament, Marin became close with the leader of the Social Democrats, Antti Rinne. Rinne selected Marin to be his deputy when he was elected Prime Minister in June 2019. After just a few months, Rinne had lost considerable popular support for his bungling26 of a postal strike27. Rinne resigned, and the Social Democrats held an internal28 election to determine29 who would be their new leader and, in turn30, Finland’s new Prime Minister. Marin won by a narrow margin31 to rise to the highest ranks of Finnish politics.

A Bit of Perspective

Becoming Prime Minister at (34) puts Marin in elite company. She’s the world’s youngest head of government as of 2019, but she’s not exactly an outlier32. New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern assumed office as Premier at 37. A number of leaders even have Marin beat. Sebastian Kurz began his tenure33 as Chancellor of Austria at (31) in 2017. Even Kim Jong Un in North Korea took on the title of Supreme Leader in (2011) before his 30th birthday. The West’s most intriguing case likely comes from the United Kingdom and William Pitt the Younger. Pitt became Prime Minister way back in (1783) when he was a youthful 24.


While Sanna’s track record34 is comparatively35 brief, Prime Minister Marin is already making waves for a mélange36 of reasons. Many see her as a champion of her party’s traditional platform - generous welfare programs37. Marin’s coalition government has also claimed that38 job creation remains a top priority. Its pledge39 to create 60,000 new jobs is meant to underpin40 its overall fiscal policy. In addition, Marin has outlined41 some of the world’s most ambitious goals in the area of climate. Her vision is to make Finland carbon neutral by 2035.

18 powerhouse ˈpaʊəhaʊs Machtzentrum, führend in etw. (19) chairperson ˈʧeəˌpɜːs(ə)n Vorsitzende/r (20) assembly əˈsembli Versammlung, Vereinigung (21) to catch sb´s attention tə kæʧ ˈsʌmbədiz əˈtenʃn jds. Aufmerksamkeit erregen (22) steadily ˈstedɪli stetig, kontinuierlich (23) predominant prɪˈdɒmɪnənt beherrschend, überlegen (24) deputy chairperson ˈdepjʊti ˈʧeəˌpɜːs(ə)n stellvertretende Vorsitzende (25) to secure sth tə sɪˈkjʊə(r) ˈsʌmθɪŋ etw. sichern, gewinnen (26) bungling ˈbʌŋglɪŋ Pfuscherei, Gestümper (27) postal strike ˈpəʊstəl straɪk Poststreik (28) internal ɪnˈtɜːnl intern, innerer (29) to determine tə dɪˈtɜːmɪn beschließen, festsetzen (30) in turn ɪn tɜːn wiederum, im Gegenzug (31) by a narrow margin baɪ ə ˈnærəʊ ˈmɑːʤɪn mit knappem Vorsprung (32) outlier ˈaʊtˌlaɪə(r) Ausreißerin, Sonderfall (33) tenure ˈtenjʊə(r) Amtszeit (34) track record træk ˈrekɔːd Erfolgs- und Erfahrungsgeschichte (35) comparatively kəmˈpærətɪvli vergleichsweise

Marin’s meteoric42 ascent43 has also been viewed as just the tip of the iceberg that is the rise of women in Finnish politics. The leaders of all five parties that make up Marin’s coalition are all female. The leaders of the Centre Party and Left Alliance are, in fact, even younger than Marin at just (32) years of age. Twelve of Marin’s (18) ministers will be women, indicating that44 women in Finland will be a political force to be reckoned with45 in the coming years.

Nevertheless46, there are scores of47 groups in Finland who are unenthusiastic about Marin’s leadership. Apart from48 the postal strike that Marin’s predecessor49

36 mélange meɪˈlɑːnʒ Mischung, Gemisch (37) welfare program ˈwelfeə(r) ˈprəʊgræm Wohlfahrts-, Sozialprogramm (38) to claim that … tə kleɪm ðæt verlangen/ behaupten, dass … (39) pledge pleʤ Zusage, Ehrenwort, Versprechen (40) to underpin tʊ ˌʌndəˈpɪn untermauern (41) to outline sth tʊ ˈaʊtlaɪn ˈsʌmθɪŋ etw. skizzieren, kurz darstellen (42) meteoric ˌmiːtɪˈɒrɪk kometenhaft, rasant (43) ascent əˈsent Aufstieg (44) to indicate that … tʊ ˈɪndɪkeɪt ðæt darauf hindeuten, dass … (45) to be reckoned with tə bi ˈrekənd wɪð mit etw. zu rechnen sein, auf etw. gefasst sein (46) nevertheless ˌnevəðəˈles nichtsdestotrotz (47) scores of sb skɔːz əv ˈsʌmbədi eine Menge (von) jdm. (48) apart from sth əˈpɑːt frəm ˈsʌmθɪŋ abgesehen von etw. (49) predecessor ˈpriːdɪsesə(r) Vorgänger

had to stress over, experts predict that50 a handful of other strikes will sweep across51 Finland in the coming months. Many are unconvinced52 that an untested politician like Marin will be able to adeptly handle53 the nation’s labor disputes. In addition, Finland’s economy is expected to sputter54 in the coming years. If production comes to a half for some Finnish companies and massive numbers of workers lose their jobs, Marin could easily become the scapegoat55. Finally, support for Marin’s coalition has already begun to slip56 in a number of polls57. About a quarter of people say they currently support the populist, anti-immigrant True Finns Party, making it the country’s most popular party right now. Even if Marin and her coalition are able to hold on to power58, they’ll have rough waters to navigate moving forward.

The Magnificent Marin

Sanna Marin might not have an impressive résumé yet, but being Prime Minister at (34) is no small feat59. She’s leading a team of progressive, dynamic women looking to bring meaningful change to Finland. She’s also managed to do all of this while juggling60 a marriage and motherhood, giving birth to61 a daughter in January 2018. She certainly has her fair share of critics and detractors62, and running a country can be tricky for the ablest of leaders. Is she up to snuff63? Keep your eyes peeled for64 updates on Sanna Marin’s trailblazing65 term66.

50 to predict that tə prɪˈdɪkt ðæt vorhersagen/ prophezeien, dass … (51) to sweep across sth tə swiːp əˈkrɒs ˈsʌmθɪŋ über etw. hinwegfegen (52) unconvinced ˌʌnkənˈvɪnst nicht überzeugt (53) to handle sth tə ˈhændl ˈsʌmθɪŋ etw. bewältigen, schaffen (54) to sputter tə ˈspʌtə(r) stottern, ins Wanken geraten (55) scapegoat ˈskeɪpgəʊt Sündenbock (56) to slip tə slɪp fallen, entgleiten (57) polls pəʊlz Umfragen (58) to hold on to power tə həʊld ɒn tə ˈpaʊə(r) an der Macht festhalten (59) feat fiːt Kunststück, Meisterleistung (60) juggling ˈʤʌglɪŋ jonglierend, Jonglieren (61) to give birth to sb tə gɪv bɜːθ tə ˈsʌmbədi jdn. gebären/zur Welt bringen (62) detractor dɪˈtræktə(r) Gegner, Kritiker (63) to be up to snuff tə bi ʌp tə snʌf auf der Höhe sein (64) keep your eyes peeled for sth kiːp jə(r) aɪz piːld fə(r) ˈsʌmθɪŋ etw. im Auge behalten (65) trailblazing ˈtreɪlbleɪzɪŋ bahnbrechend (66) term tɜːm Amtszeit