Antti Kaikkonen has announced her decision to be away from work from January 6 to early February to care for her second child, born in July.

The party of the Finnish Minister of Defense has welcomed his decision to take paternity leave in the midst of the procedure for Finland’s accession to NATO. A choice that is not unanimous. “We proudly support Antti Kaikkonen’s decision,” said Finance Minister and Center Party leader Annika Saarikko, a member of the ruling coalition in Helsinki.

Antti Kaikkonen announced Tuesday his decision to be absent from his functions from January 6 to the beginning of February to take care of his second child, born in July.

“The kids are still small, and I want to remember them in ways other than pictures,” he tweeted.

A decision rarely made in Finland

As in the other Nordic countries, taking two or three months of paternity leave after a birth has become common in Finland. The country offers 54 days off for new fathers. Nearly 80% take it, but only a part in total.

The option remains rare for political leaders, Antti Kaikkonen being among the first men to do so in Finland. Former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen was a pioneer by twice taking a few days of paternity leave when he was head of government.

“The freedom to take or decide on family leave belongs to everyone,” said Annika Saarikko.

The deputy of the Center Mikko Savola will ensure the interim.

NATO candidate country

Finland and Sweden abandoned decades of military non-alignment after neighboring Russia invaded Ukraine , announcing their NATO bids in May.

Of the thirty members of the Western military alliance, only Hungary and Turkey must ratify their accessions, which require unanimous agreement. The main sticking point is with Ankara, which is demanding Stockholm and Helsinki to toughen its stance against Kurdish groups considered “terrorists” by Turkey.


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