Finland should seek to step into the current power vacuum in Europe, says Jyrki Katainen (NCP), the Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness at the European Commission.
“Italy, Germany and France, for example, are very interested in developing defence co-operation,” he pointed out during a lunch event organised by the Association of Finnish Political Journalists in Helsinki on Monday.
The country, he estimated, could also assume a key role in the development of the circular economy, digital single market, and energy and trade policy.
“It'd currently be possible to advance the circular economy and, in a way, take on the role of the number-one circular economy expert. […] It could allow Finland to position itself in a positive light,” stated Katainen.
The Finnish Government, the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) should according to him increase their co-operation with various industries to encourage the development of the circular economy.
“Sitra is one of the leading expert organisations in the circular economy in Europe. If Sitra, the central administration and industries devised a strategy to establish Finland as the number-one circular economy expert in the world or, at least, in Europe, it'd be a way to gain greater influence in the EU's decision-making bodies and it'd offer major benefits to our industries,” he argued.
Katainen also voiced his concerns about the rise of populism in Europe, warning that it has already increased uncertainty and complicated decision-making. Populism, he added, has contributed to the dire unemployment situation in some member states and made it more difficult to implement social reforms to prepare for the future and maximise well-being.
“Uncertainty and instability have absolutely no positive effects. They lead to less efficient decision-making at the national level. The situation is rather worrying in that respect,” he admitted.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi