Olli Rehn, a former Finnish EU commissioner, has apologized for remarks he made against albinism.

Olli Rehn, a former Finnish EU commissioner, has apologized for remarks he made against albinism.

Former European commissioner and current governor of the Bank of Finland Olli Rehn has apologized for making an albinism-related remark. He had made a remark about having gray hair, likening it to an inherited illness. On social media, Rehn acknowledged his regret and that he had personally apologized to the Finnish Albinism Association. The Finnish tabloid newspaper Iltalehti stated the remark was made during a panel debate.

The discussion’s moderator, Tapio Nurminen, questioned Rehn on whether he intended to change his strategy for the presidential race because of a perceived lack of charisma.

Olli Rehn, a former Finnish EU commissioner, has apologized for remarks he made against albinism.

Despite not having albinism, Rehn said, “Yes, I’m not gray, I’m an albino,” in reference to the color of his hair. It’s an entirely different matter, he continued. And if by “grayness” you mean dependability, wisdom, and poise, I don’t believe those are at all undesirable traits for the president of the Republic of Finland.

The head of the Finnish Albinism Association, Sirpa Bamberg, criticized this statement and called it “inappropriate.” She said he ought to learn the definition of the word “albino” before making jokes about it.

Rehn recognized that Bamberg’s response was justified after the backlash. Later, according to reports, he apologized to the group, which Bamberg verified.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time Rehn has tried to make light of albinism, a hereditary disorder that affects the production of melanin and can cause eyesight difficulties.

Rehn made the following statement in an interview with Finland’s second-largest daily, Ilta-Sanomat, in June:

“I’m not gray, I’m albino,” he told the newspaper. It may have taken me a little longer, but my grandfather had white hair by the time he was in his thirties. If gray is one’s favorite color, it comes in a variety of tints. Additionally, purple is thought to be the hue of dependability and moderation—qualities that are not necessarily undesirable for the president of the Republic of Finland.

In addition to being a member of the ECB’s governing council, Olli Rehn presently holds the position of governor of the Bank of Finland. He served as a vice president of the European Parliament as well as holding numerous positions in the European Commission. Rehn was the European commissioner for economic and monetary issues throughout Greece’s debt crisis.

He said earlier this year that he would take a leave of absence from the central bank and his membership on the ECB governing council in order to run for the Finnish president.

Finland’s presidential election first round is scheduled on January 28 of the following year. If neither of the front-runners receives more than 50% of the vote in the first round, there will be a runoff between the top two on February 11.

Alexander Stubb, the former foreign minister and current front-runner, Pekka Haavisto, and Jussi Halla-aho, the former head of the Finns Party, are among Rehn’s rivals in the race.

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