Investments in RDI activities, green transition and digitalisation in the focus of Finland’s sustainable growth programme
On Wednesday 21 October, the Government invited business and industry leaders to discuss Finland’s sustainable growth programme. More than one hundred representatives from business and industry participated remotely in the Growth Forum, where the discussion focused on research, development and innovation, green transition and digitalisation. Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä, Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko and Minister of Finance Matti Vanhanen took part in the Forum.
Finland’s sustainable growth programme will be prepared in cooperation with regions, cities and stakeholders in order to achieve the objectives of the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The RRF aims to promote the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the Union, improve the resilience of the Member States, reduce the social and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis and support the green and digital transition. The purpose is to strengthen the employment and production potential of the Member States after the coronavirus crisis and to support sustainable growth. The focus of EU funding is on supporting the green and digital transition.
The aim of the Growth Forum was to involve the business sector in the preparation of the programme. The event was organised under the leadership of Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
“With the help of the EU’s recovery facility, we can strengthen the basis for future growth and employment as well as the operating conditions of Finnish companies at international and national level. We want to maintain a close dialogue with businesses, regions and municipalities during this preparation,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin said at the opening of the Growth Forum.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has already held discussions on EU funding with business and industry federations and labour market organisations. The topics raised in the discussions include low-carbon targets, RDI investments, digital transition and the development of infrastructure. Other themes, such as supporting exports and improving employment, have also been explored during these meetings.
“We now have an opportunity to create a programme that provides long-term added value for recovery and growth. Today’s discussion will help us prepare a package, which will create sustainable growth for the whole of Finland,” Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä said.
According to Minister of Science and Culture Annika Saarikko, the competitiveness and wellbeing of both Finland and the European Union are built on competence, research and innovation.
“In order to succeed, we need creative, competent and courageous people. We must also be a safe and interesting operating environment for companies,” Minister Saarikko said.
The business and industry sector was represented by CEO Mika Aalto from the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, CEO Elina Ussa from the Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics FiCom and Executive Director Matti Mannonen from the Technology Industries of Finland.
“The funding from the EU’s recovery facility is an unprecedented opportunity and we must invest it wisely. An investment programme for projects that would renew the export industry, create permanent competitive advantages and promote low-carbon emissions would be a highly profitable investment. Industrial investments produce results quickly and their impact lasts for decades,” said CEO Mika Aalto in his speech on the green transition.
According to CEO Elina Ussa, the construction of market-based and demand-driven infrastructure has provided the foundation for Finland’s digital success for decades.
“The right to claim domestic help credit should be extended to the whole construction of a fixed subscriber connection and companies should be granted more support for digitalisation projects. Customer-oriented electronic services also need more investment,” said CEO Ussa.
According to Matti Mannonen, Executive Director at Technology Industries of Finland, the EU’s recovery package provides an opportunity to improve Finland’s competitiveness in wide-ranging ways.
“Good targets of the EU recovery funding include increasing Business Finland’s RDI funding for cooperation projects led by companies, focusing on the development of technologies and digital platforms that combat climate change, and funding large-scale industrial reference projects,” Director Mannonen said.
The results of the discussion will be used in the preparation of Finland’s sustainable growth programme as well as a report, which will be presented to Parliament during the autumn. Finland’s official recovery and resilience plan will be submitted to the Commission in early 2021.
“Despite the fast preparation schedule, we are seeking a bold approach to working together and that is why we are consulting various stakeholders extensively. That will be the only way to achieve the objectives of the programme and to ensure that Finland will recover and get on a path of sustainable growth,” Minister of Finance Matti Vanhanen said in his closing speech.
Joona Rahkola, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, tel. +358 295 160 998
Maria Kaisa Aula, State Secretary to the Minister of Finance, tel. +358 295 530 443
Kimmo Tiilikainen, State Secretary to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 295 530 303
Eeva Kärkkäinen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Science and Culture, tel. +358 40 149 2201
Mikko Vähä-Sipilä, Director, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 166