Minister Lintilä´s speech in Uusikaupunki

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment 17.2.2017 8.19
Speech

Sehr geehrter Herr Kellermann, meine Damen und Herren, Hyvät juhlavieraat, Distinguished guests,

We associate many images with cars and motoring. In their early days, they were about high-tech gimmicks and a culture of experimentation. Soon the car became a symbol of wealth of freedom.

Little by little, the car took on its role as the foundation of modern economy and as a promoter of new technology, production philosophy and automation.

In recent decades, the importance of environmental aspects has increased. The latest example of this is electric vehicles.

When the Government gave Valmet Oy the task of investigating the manufacture of cars in Finland in spring 1966, this request was underpinned by concerns related to the national economy. It was motivated by improving the trade balance, creating new jobs and importing know-how.

Of course, the vehicle industry already existed in Finland at that time. The know-how and evolving industrial tradition were associated with trucks and buses. However, and the country also needed an ability to manufacture cars and we searched a foreign partner for that.  This search was completed successfully.

This willingness and need to engage in international cooperation has been a driving force since then, and today's event is another great example of this.

The future of the Finnish industry and its ecosystems relies on our ability to improve the skills we have and pick up new ones rapidly. This sets major structural and funding requirements on our innovation chain and our education system.  

Turning basic research into successful products is a non-linear process, and innovations are produced in all of its phases. However, in Finland the chain contains bottlenecks which we must overcome.

This is why a working group appointed by the Government is investigating new structural and funding solutions for our innovation chain. Its work is based – among other things - on OECD report on the Finnish innovation system. It is clear that new funding solutions are needed in all parts of the innovation chain, but they are particularly necessary on the interface between basic and applied research.

Today’s celebration showcases the international nature of the car industry, which I mentioned earlier. We are about to launch a production line where Finnish and German workmanship go hand in hand. In the future, the joint efforts will certainly be encouraged by the engineering agency purchased by Valmet Automotive.

Historically there is nothing new about this, as cooperation between the two nations goes back for 800 years – to Hanseatic League. We have all the reasons to thank Daimler company for the continuity of this tradition of mutual benefits and its significance for the employment and economy on local and national levels.

On behalf of the Finnish Government, I wish the new production line every success. Let the cooperation continue. Kiitos - Danke schön!