Anu Vehviläinen (Centre), the Minister of Local Government and Public Reforms, has questioned the tactics employed by Jan Vapaavuori (NCP), the Mayor of Helsinki, in his quest to torpedo the regional government reform.
Vapaavuori has according to her sought to create a negative image for the reform by claiming that it would prevent cities from developing.
“His offhand remarks about it being the worst reform in living memory and […] being detrimental for cities are not based on facts. The mayor is using image politics to pit cities and counties against each other,” states Vehviläinen.
Vapaavuori and Lauri Lyly (SDP), the Mayor of Tampere, have demanded that the government scrap the regional government reform and only implement the social and health care reform, drawing support for their demands from the ranks of both the National Coalition and Social Democratic Party.
Vapaavuori was also the main impetus in the creation of a joint forum for the leaders of the 21 largest cities in Finland, the C21. The leaders have urged the government to call off its preparations for making counties responsible for organising employment and business development services, stressing that all social, health care and administrative reforms should “consolidate the role of cities in building vitality”.
Vapaavuori’s repeated remarks about the regional government reform have sparked the ire of especially the Centre Party, the most staunch proponent of the reform.
Vehviläinen reminds that the existence of regional governments has not prevented the likes of Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen and Stockholm from developing, contrary to the suggestions of Vapaavuori.
“It’s hard to fathom how counties could be the end of Helsinki or any other city in Finland. On the contrary, cities and counties can strengthen one another with successful co-operation,” she says.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi