The coronavirus crisis has had an impact on the whole of the European Union, and it has led to an unprecedented health and economic shock. This is an exceptional situation beyond the control of single EU Member States. Cooperation is needed to overcome the pandemic, but also to recover from the economic crisis.
The situation is worrying in Finland as its economy is expected to recover from the crisis more slowly than that of other EU countries. European investment recession and a prolonged economic stagnation would be particularly problematic for Finland, as the EU is Finland’s main market and its exports rely heavily on investment goods. Therefore, Finland’s recovery from the corona crisis and the possibility to save jobs are very closely linked to the EU’s recovery.
The European Commission has proposed a recovery fund worth €750 bn to kick-start the economy and to ensure that Europe will recover. The purpose of the recovery fund is good and should be supported: to provide funding for selected investment targets as opposed to general budget support for the Member States. The Finnish government must work to ensure this remains the principle during the upcoming negotiations. The focus should be e.g. on green growth and digital transition. Through the investments we can support the EU’s long-term goals such as combating climate change, deploying new technologies and improving skills.
The recovery fund is temporary and meant to address the consequences of the current coronavirus crisis. As the corona crisis has affected the whole of the EU, every Member States is eligible for funding.
New resources of its own are being considered for the EU to repay the loans the Commission would take. When assessing the possible new revenues, it is essential to ensure that the system supports sustainable growth, job creation and the EU’s international competitiveness.
Many details in the recovery fund are still open. Further preparation and decision-making must be done openly and transparently.
Finland should take a constructive approach to the EU’s recovery fund negotiations. Only this way will we be able to influence what the recovery instrument will look like. We must also consider the possible consequences if no agreement can be reached. Without a common solution, the EU will erode from within and that will also reduce our global influence. Good performance and cooperation within the EU and the euro area are essential for Finland.
Mr Jyri Häkämies, Director General, Confederation of Finnish Industries EK
Mr Jarkko Eloranta, President, Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions SAK
Mr Sture Fjäder, President, Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland Akava
Mr Antti Palola, President, Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK