Last weekend, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (sd) will represent not only Finland but also Sweden at the EU summit in Brussels, as the Prime Minister of the western neighbor Stefan Löfven missed the event due to his mother's funeral.

The Swedish newspaper Expressen was enthusiastic about Marin's double role, and it jokingly suggested whether the Finnish Prime Minister could hold office for a little longer.

The story listed things where Finland has recently earned better than its “big brother”.

Admittedly, Marin has not had a great deal of decision-making power over many of the issues raised, as he has only served as prime minister since last December.

The first issue was the effective work of the police in Finland, where as many as 98 per cent of homicides can be solved.

In Sweden, whose police forces have been subjected to some form of criticism over the years, the corresponding figure is 82 per cent.

The liberalization of Finnish rent regulation after the recession of the early 1990s was also praised.

In Sweden, housing rents are lower due to strict regulation, but at the same time the housing shortage is higher.

In Finland, it has also been possible to reduce the number of homeless people, largely through housing foundations that focus on it.

Swedish Government Office Rosenbad in Stockholm.Photo: Holger Ellgaard / Wikimwedia Commons

Other things that aroused praise were the efficient and economically sound operation of the Defense Forces, the management of the corona epidemic and the Finnish school system.

There are almost 90 per cent fewer corona deaths in Finland than in Sweden, and current estimates suggest that the Finnish economy has not taken as badly as its western neighbor.

The Finnish school system, in turn, was praised for the functionality of pre- and special education and the high esteem enjoyed by teacher education.

Expressen’s article recalled that Sweden has traditionally been seen as a model student of Nordic welfare policy, but in reality, neighboring countries do certain things better than they do.

Be that as it may, Marin's role in representing Sweden in Brussels is very formal.

In practice, representing Sweden means that Marin presents the views of both countries at the same time in his speeches.

The staffs of the prime ministers of the countries have worked closely together in recent days so that the positions desired by Finland and Sweden will be presented at the summit.

According to the Prime Minister's Undersecretary of State for European Affairs Jari Luoto, it is possible for Finnish representatives to call Löfven during the meeting if the situation so requires.