Mark Peckmezian for TIME

Olaf Scholz puts ordinary people at the center of all political decisionmaking. I have known this for many years, having met with him frequently in the European Union’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council while we were both Finance Ministers. Recently elected as the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf never hesitates to make tough decisions when necessary but always considers how people will be affected, immediately and in the long term. He is pragmatic, reliable, and solid, as well as a man of clear goals, who always stays focused on how to transform them into results. To me, this is the ideal recipe for a politician and a great inspiration.

We’ve been in tough negotiations in the Ecofin Council on several occasions. Olaf, while staying true to his own objectives, was always the one who could see the working compromise ahead. He was also the one to get us there, using his breadth of knowledge and respect for all parties.

In these troubled times, I am truly grateful to have Olaf as my German counterpart. His steady leadership is important both for the people of Germany and for the rest of Europe.

Andersson is the Prime Minister of Sweden

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