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Setting the tone for economic policy requires care and consideration

Tuula Haatainen Published Date 13.5.2020 9.25 Blog

Minister Tuula HaatainenThe report of Professor Vesa Vihriälä’s working group on Finland's economic strategy for overcoming the coronavirus crisis was published today. This contribution by distinguished experts comes at a crucial time as the Government is contemplating which tone to set for economic policy.

Lifting restrictions in society safely and gradually is the best way to stimulate economic growth. To this end, the Government, in collaboration with the private sector, is taking swift action to set up domestic production of personal protective equipment and to conduct testing on a larger scale.

It remains clear that it will take a long time for the economy to recover, and that determined action from the Government is required to support the recovery.  Proposals made in the Vihriälä report, such as the rapid launch of productivity-enhancing infrastructure projects and increase in R&D investments, bolster our efforts. Extending compulsory education is one example of an important reform that will raise the educational level of the population and thereby builds our long-term growth potential.

Combating long-term unemployment is something that requires our full attention and determination.

Later, when international demand starts to grow again, new measures will be needed to strengthen general government finances and to address the sustainability gap. Although decisions on these measures should be coordinated as required by cyclical policy, the Government will, during the summer, update its plan on how to align the objectives of economic stimulus, strengthening of general government finances and employment with the most recent situation information.

Combating long-term unemployment is something that requires our full attention and determination. Success in this area makes us better equipped to pursue other key Government objectives.

Personally, I think it important to pay attention to social sustainability and integrity through all stages of crisis management.  The coronavirus outbreak has been a shock that touches us all in one way or another. We have to look out for each other, and make sure the weakest ones in our society are not left to fend for themselves.  Together with Ministers Kiuru, Pekonen and Blomqvist, we appointed  a group led by Archbishop Emeritus Kari Mäkinen and asked them to make proposals on how to more effectively address equality and social justice issues in the Government’s work.

Tuula Haatainen

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