Power Players

Nordic countries are better at achieving the American Dream, Finland PM Sanna Marin says

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin listens during a press conference with her Estonian counterpart as part of her visit to the Etonian capital Tallinn on January 10, 2020.
RAIGO PAJULA

Finland's Sanna Marin, the world's youngest prime minister, has suggested Nordic countries such as her own may be better at embodying the "American Dream" than the U.S.

"I feel that the American Dream can be achieved best in the Nordic countries, where every child no matter their background or the background of their families can become anything," she said in an interview last month with the Washington Post which was published Monday.

The "American Dream" refers to the idea, which originated in the U.S., that anyone can achieve prosperity and success.

Marin attributed the "success story" of the "Nordic model" to the quality of education, health care and social welfare systems in these countries, which allow "anybody to become anything."

Marin added that this was likely one of the reasons Finland had been ranked one of the happiest countries in the world.

Finland topped the annual World Happiness Report rankings for the second year in a row in 2019, followed by Denmark, Norway and Iceland, with Sweden also scoring high on the list.

A new index published by the World Economic Forum in January found Nordic countries offered the highest level of social mobility, with Finland coming third on the list.

Though Marin acknowledged that "every country's situation is different, every country's political atmosphere is different."

This is not the only area where Finland's prime minister has been held up as an example of a more progressive political leadership.

Also speaking in January, Marin said she hoped that being a female leader would not get as much attention from the world's media in the future, but would become the "new normal."

She pointed out that she was not Finland's first female prime minister and that all five parties in the country's coalition government were led by women, four of whom being under the age of 35.

Marin's suggestion, when she was minister of transport, that Finland should switch to a four-day working week has also made headlines globally.

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