Permanent Secretaries call for swift reforms to promote the green transition and boost economic growth; measures must also ensure justice
The Permanent Secretaries of the ministries have drawn up a joint outlook on key issues for Finland’s next two government terms. The report aims to shift the focus from topical themes to a longer-term perspective. The Opportunities for Finland report published on 6 February provides a knowledge base for discussions around the elections this spring and for drawing up the next government programme.
According to the outlook, the governments of the next two parliamentary terms will face five key challenges:
- The conditions for economic growth must be strengthened.
- Rapid progress must be made on the green transition.
- Equality and democracy must be strengthened.
- Further measures must be taken to improve Finland’s security and resilience to crisis.
- General government finances must be balanced considerably.
The report focuses on how to address these challenges and considers what directions the solutions could take.
It is difficult to balance general government finances without the support of economic growth. For the next two parliamentary terms, the Permanent Secretaries recommend launching reforms to improve the conditions for economic growth without delay, as their impacts will take time to materialise. At the same time, the next government should begin working to balance general government finances. Efforts should be made to achieve a balance in general government finances over the next two parliamentary terms. The emphasis and timing of the measures will require due political consideration.
Availability of labour poses an increasing challenge – employment rate should increase to 80 per cent and work-based immigration should double
In the 2020s, Finland’s demographic structure will be in a situation where the availability of labour presents an even greater sociopolitical challenge and obstacle to economic growth. At the same time, the ageing of the population will increase the need for labour in health and social services. To address these challenges, the permanent secretaries recommend increasing the employment rate to 80 per cent and doubling the rate of work-based immigration. Both of these are demanding objectives, and achieving them will require consistent and also difficult decisions in a number of policy areas.
The green transition is a global phenomenon that requires major investments. In this respect, Finland has many strengths. The primary duty of the public sector is to encourage and promote the channelling of private investments cost-effectively and consistently.
The challenges and solutions described in the report are interconnected, both within Finland and beyond its borders. The most important thing is to work towards a balanced policy that advances different perspectives at the same time while also recognising the interdependencies between them. At the overall level, the report recognises a need to strengthen the perspectives of ecological and social sustainability alongside the economic perspective. In addition to these, the report highlights the role of security as a prerequisite for a stable and well-functioning society.
Inquiries: Henrik Haapajärvi, State Secretary, tel. +358 9 1602 2006, and Jouni Varanka, Ministerial Adviser, Prime Minister's Office, tel. +358 295 160 177
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