Laura Räty (NCP) announced her resignation as the deputy mayor responsible for social affairs and public affair of Helsinki to take on a senior position at Terveystalo in May, 2016.
Laura Räty (NCP) announced her resignation as Helsinki's deputy mayor responsible for social affairs and public health to take on a senior position at Terveystalo in May, 2016.

Maria Ohisalo, a deputy chairperson of the Green League, has voiced her concerns about the role of buddy capitalism in Finland.

“Political appointments are a problem. The management boards of companies also show how power tends to centralise in this country. We've got a number of well-known professional board members whose names appear on the [boards] of many businesses. They often have ties to each other [and] may orchestrate bonuses for their buddies,” she says to Uusi Suomi.

“At least that's how it looks to the outside,” she adds.

The issue came to the fore after a debate about the transitions of policy-makers to the health care sector aired on YLE TV1 on Thursday.

Several members of the National Coalition Party, for example, have recently moved to the private health care sector: Lasse Männistö, an ex-Member of Parliament, was named the head of outsourcing services at Mehiläinen in 2015, and Laura Räty, an ex-Minister of Social Affairs and Health, the head of operations at Terveystalo in 2016. Joonas Turunen, a special adviser to the National Coalition Ministerial Group, announced late last month that he will be appointed as a development manager at Terveystalo.

The appointments have drawn criticism especially, but not exclusively, from the ranks of the opposition – not least due to the looming reform of health care and social welfare services in Finland.

“There's a lot of hidden corruption in Finland,” tweeted Ohisalo.

“I think it's interesting that also those who swear by free market economy oppose such buddy capitalism. Even they don't consider this as free market economy. There's no free competition between companies in a monopoly or oligopoly position,” she adds in an interview with Uusi Suomi.

Ben Zyskowicz (NCP) underscored during the debate programme that the National Coalition has spoken in favour of greater freedom of choice for patients because it considers it important, not because it wants to pave the way for its members to transition to the health care sector.

“The National Coalition is an advocate of the care reform and freedom of choice because it is best for the availability and quality [of services] – and ultimately the taxpayers,” he said.

Ohisalo calls for a common set of rules to guarantee the transparency of appointments and to ensure no conflicts of interest arise.

“The rules must be the same for everyone,” she stresses, “We need a lobbyist register and greater transparency. The public must be able to trust social institutions and, especially, decision-makers.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Handout / YLE
Source: Uusi Suomi