In times of hardship, traditions are perhaps more valuable than ever. They offer us a sense of safety, normality and continuity, a solid rock to cling to. They bring a flicker of hope, joy and light when the world we used to know seems to be in a distressed state.
Tourism is one of the worst affected industries by the pandemic. The flow of travellers has practically stopped and numerous entrepreneurs and employees are facing unprecedented financial challenges or even collapse. The travel industry employs some 140,000 people in Finland of which more than a third in the Uusimaa region.
The European union is a union of shared values. These values cannot be compromised or brushed aside, because they represent the very foundation upon which our union is built. The EU's founding values are human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.
The United Nations Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals direct Finland and other countries towards a more sustainable future. The aim of the Agenda is that everyone is a part of the change, and no one is left behind.
The global sustainable development report indicates that we are making progress towards these goals, but far too slowly. Global inequality is rising as well as all the more connected with severe environmental crises. Biodiversity continues to decline.
EU federal development has taken huge leaps forward through the Corona Recovery Package. Finland is committed to the EU's joint €750 billion stimulus package, which will be financed by loans taken from the market. Joint loans are contrary to the EU's own treaties and basic principles, such as the no bail-out rule, according to which each EU country is responsible for its own debts. President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö criticized the EU decision-making process and the “creative interpretation” of its own rules.
Work is a remarkable part of everyday life for many of us. No matter how much one might love one’s job, work is always, among the positive aspects, also a source of encumbrance and stress. I have had a close look at the trend of young women getting burnout in my circle of friends and as a politician, I am truly worried. Themes of employment are usually a dominant part of the Finnish political discussion of the national economy and its future. Among the debates of jobs created and jobs lost, the issue of wellbeing and exhaustion need to be at the center of the discourse too.
Politics is a battle of ideas. On a rhetorical level it can be very black and white. But in the end, it always comes down to agreeing, meddling, approaching each other, and striking deals. Most Finns – well, I would even say a huge part of the world – have been watching the endless vote counting going on the other side of the Atlantic. As of Sunday, it is clear that Joe Biden will be the next president in the United States, unless some strange court case turns everything around.
In 2004 Caterina Fake co-founded Flickr in the U.S. and only 5 years later people had shared about 5 billion photos through the channel. In 2020 Fake wanted to move to Finland with her daughter. However, moving to Finland turned out to be an administrative obstacle. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be, as we would benefit from attracting people like her.
The problems in health and social care have remained the same for a long time. The past governments have tried to implement comprehensive reforms over the past 15 years. The health system is complex, multi-tiered and decentralised. Population is aging, service needs are increasing and the costs are running out of the hand and there are serious problems with access to basic services in particular.
The financial crises ten years ago left the Åland Islands almost unscattered even though it impacted the economy. However, it was a small summer breeze compare with the winter storm Covid-19 has become for the economy. The Åland Islands’ economy is very dependent on both passenger shipping and tourism, two industries that have been impacted very severely by the crisis.
Finnish business life and jobs are in the midst of structural change. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to reform our economy. If we want to improve Finland's competitiveness in the long run, industry and the entire business community must take a sustainability leap.