Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (former The Ministry of Employment and the Economic) started operations on 1 January 2008. The Government Programme of Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen’s second Government, dated 19 April 2007, included a decision to establish a new ministry that would “assume responsibility for the duties of the existing Ministry of Trade and Industry, the tasks of the Ministry of Labour, excluding migration and integration matters, and the functions of the Department for Development of Regions and Public Administration of the Ministry of the Interior, excluding the Regional and Local Administration Unit.”
The first ministers in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment were Mauri Pekkarinen, as Minister of Economic Affairs, and Tarja Cronberg, as Minister of Labour.
The tasks concerning immigrant integration were transferred from the Ministry of the Interior to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment from the start of 2012.
History of the ministries merged into the new ministry
Ministry of Trade and Industry
The task of the Department of Trade and Industry, which started its operations on 1 October 1888, was to be responsible for those affairs of the Grand Duchy of Finland that concerned trade, shipping, pilotage and lighthouse services, hydrographical surveying, establishment of harbours, cleaning of fairways, traffic of mining and iron works, saw mills, mills, factories, occupations and handicraft, establishment of waterworks, production of spirits and malt liquors and taxation of these industries, as well as the patent agency, insurance companies, educational establishments for trade, shipping and industry, and legalisation of limited companies set up for various purposes.
The board of the pilotage and lighthouse services, the pilotage service, board of industry, the polytechnic institute, industrial schools, naval colleges, commercial schools and commercial agents were subordinate to the Department of Trade and Industry.
Under a decree issued on 27 November 1918, the names of the departments were changed into ministries. The Department of Trade and Industry became the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Ministry of Labour
The Finnish public employment service started in 1903. To begin with, operations were concentrated into bigger cities, and the state compensated the cities for approximately half of the costs for the arranged work.
In the 1930s, state control was established in the handling of unemployment. At first, the responsibility for labour matters in central government lay with the Ministry of Transport and Public Works. In 1970, the Ministry of Labour was formed from the Department of Labour of the above-mentioned ministry.
In 1989, the Ministry also became responsible for unemployment allowance matters, and at the same time its Finnish name changed from työvoimaministeriö to työministeriö. The responsibilities of the Ministry increased in 1997 with refugee and asylum seeker matters, as well as migration matters. In connection with the establishment of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, matters related to refugees, asylum seekers and migration were transferred to the Ministry of the Interior.
Information on former ministers of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of the Interior is available at the Government’s ministerial information system.