Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) talked to reporters as she arrived at the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, on 10 December 2020. (John Thys – AFP/Lehtikuva)

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THE RECOVERY of the European economy from the crisis kindled by the coronavirus pandemic is absolutely crucial for Finland, reminds Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP).

Marin on Thursday reminded in her New Year’s message that although Finland has fared better than many other countries in mitigating the health and economic effects of the pandemic, its success alone is not enough to truly overcome the crisis.

“We all need to succeed together,” she emphasised. “We need to work together to restore the European economy in addition to taking measures at the national level. We need to look beyond ourselves.”

She also reminded that as vaccinations against the disease have only begun, the pandemic is hardly over. It is therefore critical that the public continue to show restraint, act responsibly and comply with the guidelines put in place to contain the virus.

“It will take some time to achieve sufficient vaccination coverage throughout the population.”

The European Union has agreed on a 750-billion-euro instrument to help its member states to recover from the economic shock delivered by the pandemic. The European Commission will borrow the funds from the market and distribute them to member states in loans and grants.

The Finns Party, in particular, has expressed its reservations about the package in Finland.

Marin said Finland is currently devising its own recovery programme as part of the instrument. The programme will strive to achieve a swift recovery and advance the necessary structural reforms in the economy and public services, with a focus on domains such as green and digital transition; labour markets and working life; international competitiveness; and education, research and innovation.

The country demonstrated its resilience once again in 2020.

“We have a well-functioning health care system, trustworthy authorities and a stable democracy, skilled and competent teachers, advanced digital capabilities, the ability to adapt quickly to unexpected situations and mutual trust in society, all of which has helped us to cope amidst the crisis,” she said.

“We Finns are known for our guts, perseverance and tenacity.”

The country must nonetheless continue its efforts to develop in a more socially, ecologically and economically sustainable direction.

“This decade may have begun in a way that we could not have anticipated last year, but we can still turn it into a decade of solutions. This will take courage and the ability to work together and withstand uncertainty. The same things that this year has required from all of us,” stated Marin.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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