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Government tackles the grey economy with a comprehensive action plan

Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of the Interior 11.6.2020 14.30
Press release

On 11 June 2020, the Government adopted a strategy and an action plan for tackling the grey economy and economic crime for 2020–2023. The tackling of the grey economy will focus on prevention, more effective access to information and cooperation between authorities.

“More effective measures to combat the grey economy are essential if we want to guarantee healthy competition between companies and a fair labour market. When we all play by the same rules, we all win in the end," says Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen, who chairs the Government's steering group on combating the grey economy.

Measures to improve communication and supervision

To implement the strategy, an action plan has been drawn up that includes more than 20 projects and more than 50 concrete measures. These projects and measures will be carried out in cooperation between different ministries, agencies and stakeholders.

The Government has reserved approximately EUR 15 million in funding for the implementation of the action plan for the period 2020–2023. The funding will help ensure that the work of the authorities will be improved and that they have the ability to act in combating the grey economy, while enhancing their mutual cooperation and exchange of information.

“The action plan tackles the grey economy and economic crime in many ways. For example, we are investigating ways of intervening in underpayment observed in labour-intensive sectors such as shipyards, construction sites and restaurants. The fight against corruption will be intensified in public procurement. We also have to clarify issues related to the interface between work carried out under an employment relationship and entrepreneurial work, because of the increasing amount of work in the platform economy and on digital platforms,” says Minister of Employment Haatainen.

The objective of the action plan is to intensify cooperation between the authorities and make it more effective in combating, for example undeclared work, identity theft and food fraud. One way this can be achieved is by creating ready-made operating models that the authorities can use across the country.

“Many authorities are going to be cooperating, for example to prevent and detect the abuse of foreign labour and human trafficking for labour exploitation. We feel that it is important for the success of our work that information sharing between the various authorities proceeds smoothly,” says Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo.

“We will be deploying a number of preventive measures, such as introducing the tax number system in shipbuilding and examining better disclosure of information concerning the due payment of taxes and fees to support the efforts to combat the grey economy. Furthermore, we will target an information campaign at immigrants and individuals at the start of their working career about how responsible employees and employers act,” says Janne Marttinen, Director of the Grey Economy Information Unit at the Finnish Tax Administration.

Measures of the action plan: 

  • Enhancing the tax authority’s right to obtain information from third parties 
  • Creating an information system to identify cartels that secures extensive access to information on tenders submitted in public tender competitions 
  • Developing a risk-profiling model for preventing environmental crime 
  • Using artificial intelligence in the processing of criminal investigation and evidence material 
  • Introducing more effective measures to combat grey economy activities in the transport sector
  • Examining how to ensure public access to nominee-registered shares and how the tax authorities will receive information on trading in them
  • Amending the legislation on the disclosure of tax information to ensure that any changes to tax information made after the close of the tax year will be made public

In addition to national measures, grey economy activities that occur across borders will be combated by enhancing cooperation between EU Member States. This work is also supported by the European Labour Authority.

The objectives of the Strategy for Tackling the Grey Economy and Economic Crime are to: 

  • promote healthy competition between companies and a fair labour market
  • prevent the grey economy and economic crime
  • ensure the ability of authorities to combat the grey economy and economic crime
  • develop measures to combat the grey economy and economic crime and improve cooperation between authorities

Lead taken by the steering group on combating the grey economy 

The steering group on combating the grey economy, led by Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen, will be responsible for implementing and updating the strategy and monitoring the implementation of the action plan. If necessary, the strategy and the action plan may also be updated during their periods of validity.  

The executive group on combating the grey economy and economic crime, formed by ministries and authorities, will report on the progress made with implementing the action plan to the steering group and, if necessary, propose changes to the strategy or the action plan.   

Inquiries: 

Timo Nevaranta, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 50 574 1430
Jarno Lappalainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Interior, tel. +358 40 053 6973
Päivi Kantanen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 048 938
Juha Tuovinen, Chief Superintendent, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 295 488 364 
Janne Marttinen, Director, Tax Administration, tel. +358 295 126 066

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