Finnish politician, prime minister 1995–2003. Paavo Lipponen was appointed leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993 and formed a ‘rainbow coalition’ government of five parties, including from the centre-right National Coalition Party led by Sauli Niinistö, in 1995. This government pursued tight budgetary policies that enabled Finland to join the European Monetary Union (EMU) and adopt the euro in 1999. After the DSP was defeated by the Center Party in the 2003 general election, he became speaker of parliament until leaving it in 2007. He contested the 2012 presidential election but won less than 7% of the vote.
Lipponen has been praised for the consistency of his government's policies, and even its severest critics acknowledged that the country's economic prospects were clear and stable, thanks to Lipponen's economic policy. He showed a strong belief in the principles and goals of the European Union (EU), and championed monetary union as a factor to increase stability, believing that the euro would gain strength in relation to the US Dollar.
Lipponen worked as a freelance journalist 1963–67 before becoming involved in politics. He joined the SDP and worked as the party's research and international affairs secretary and planning chief of the political section 1967–79. He then became special political advisor to the prime minister 1979–82. He was managing director of Viestintä Teema Oy 1988–95 and served as head of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs 1989–91. A MP 1983–87 and from 1991 onwards, he was also a member of Helsinki City Council 1985–94.