Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) and Juho Romakkaniemi, the director of Finland Chamber of Commerce, attended a tax-related event organised by the business advocacy in Helsinki on 28 September 2023. Orpo on Sunday stated to YLE that the government has no intention of backing down on its labour market reforms despite the opposition of trade unions. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)


PRIME MINISTER Petteri Orpo (NCP) has urged well-being services counties to reform and improve social and health care services in Finland.

“If we fix these things, we can create the necessary cost savings. That’s what the whole social and health care reform was about, but it was abandoned halfway [through the process],” he stated during his regular interview on YLE Radio Suomi.

Elderly care services, for example, are almost in a crisis.

“Especially home support services have elderly people who are in a worse position than before. I can assure you that we’ll do everything in our power to make sure the elderly get all the care they need.”

The interview also veered into the issue of medical doctors working for employment agencies. YLE, for example, has reported that physicians at health care centres can double their pay by moving to the payroll of an employment agency to perform the same job.

“If the service structures of well-being services counties are a success, the outcome will be that we have better health care centres. I believe that stronger and better well-being areas will motivate people to find employment also in areas that have struggled to find physicians,” the premier analysed.

He also reiterated that the government has no intention to call off the labour market reforms outlined in the government programme despite the criticism and opposition they have drawn from trade unions. The Industrial Union and Trade Union Pro on Sunday announced protests and walk-outs at a few dozen workplaces in central and western Finland, according to STT.

“We won’t compromise on this goal, but we want to move forward through discussion,” Orpo said on Sunday. “We have to hold on to the economic impact. We need these reforms because we want to maintain a Nordic welfare state.”

Orpo was also asked about the growing fatigue toward supporting Ukraine in Europe.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in September said Poland, long one of the staunchest allies of Ukraine, will stop the provision of military aid over a widening grain-related rift between it and Ukraine. Polish President Andrzej Duda later walked back the prime minister’s comments, saying they were interpreted in “the worst possible way”.

Elections held in Slovakia on Sunday, meanwhile, appear to have ended in the triumph of a populist party led by Robert Fico, who has pledged to put a stop to military support to Ukraine.

Orpo on Sunday said Europe and the West must remain focused on helping Ukraine to win the war instigated Russia.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT