Economy buoyant – In a new report published today by the Minister for Industry, Mr. Lintilä, shows that economic activity throughout the whole country is strong and broadly based, with many different sectors from forestry, metal, shipbuilding, mining, car assembly, IT, construction of buildings and infrastructure as well as renewable energy investments.
This is the sort of news that has been missing after the disgraceful fall of Nokia. The good news is that this upturn in economic activity is far more robust that 10 years ago, and much more widely spread. That is a clear blessing and one of our future strengths in this world where we are all at risk by the unpredictable behaviour of Russia and America.
The report also sees that prospects for the next year are fine, but there will be some slowing down, with the exception of the north part of Finland around Lapland, where mining and tourism will continue to see a continuation of major investments.
The main negative factors seen by the ministry are the ageing population, bottlenecks is the supply of labour, road conditions, and insufficient R&D. One however, should remember that Finns are too often over-pessimistic about future prospects, unlike our Swedish cousins, and for that reason, miss important investment opportunities.
Education is a key – One such area is education which has seen large budget cuts over 2 governments the last 7 years. Education is now being reformed but there are far too many young people without work, without proper vocational training and without the proper support to get them into jobs. The minister expressed his hope that the belated education reforms will introduce a new drive into the economy.
EU initiative to stop trade war – Minister Lintilä mentioned the growing possibility of a trade war which is a major risk for Finland, a country that depends heavily on open markets for trade. He mentioned that he has recently met with Peter Altmaier, the German Minister for Economic Affairs. They discussed the possibility of how EU should start joint negotiations with the US and Russia to reduce these risks to minimise the ensuing instability.