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Crisis follow-up group: Finland’s way out of the COVID-19 crisis requires long-term planning and agility

Government Communications Department 1.6.2020 16.50
Press release 375

The crisis follow-up group chaired by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance Martti Hetemäki submitted the second part of its report to the Government on Monday 1 June. The second-phase report of the working group, which consists of the Ministries’ Permanent Secretaries, deals with the societal impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in the short and long term. The report also presents a plan for a post-crisis management and reconstruction strategy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have significant societal impacts both globally and in Finland. The scale of these effects will ultimately depend on the duration of the pandemic. While the development of the epidemic has slowed in many countries, there is still a high risk of a resurgence in infections. Although there is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we must already draw up a plan for implementing post-crisis management and reconstruction measures in the short and long term.

The objective of post-crisis management is to support the safe recovery of society after the most acute phase of the crisis, to prevent the emergence of long-term adverse effects of the crisis and to strengthen confidence throughout society. This will also contribute to the recovery of the economy. The planning and scheduling of post-crisis management measures must take into account the risk that the pandemic will re-emerge.

When deciding on temporary post-crisis management measures, a roadmap should be drawn up concerning the timetable and the set of measures to be taken so that we can ensure sustainability in public finances and achieve our goal of carbon neutrality in a socially equitable manner after the crisis. According to the Ministry of Finance’s estimate, public finances will need to be strengthened by around EUR 7 billion in order to stabilise the debt ratio in the 2020s. This can be considered a minimum target. Options for strengthening public finances include slowing down the growth of public expenditure, tax increases and structural reforms aiming to increase employment, strengthen the conditions for economic growth or improve the productivity of public administration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already had major societal impacts, and significant challenges still lie ahead. The working group stresses that implementing the long-term strategy can contribute to Finland’s long-term objectives of building a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable society, thereby enabling society to emerge from the crisis even stronger than before.

Ministries to prepare a follow-up plan

At its evening session on Monday, the Government held a preliminary discussion on the crisis follow-up group’s report. Based on the discussion, the Ministries will prepare a follow-up plan to be used by the Government. The Government will receive the plan in the week beginning on 15 June and will use it as a basis for deciding on future measures.

Inquiries: Martti Hetemäki, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, tel. +358 295 530 292, martti.hetemaki(at)vm.fi, and Kirsi Varhila, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 338, kirsi.varhila(at)stm.fi

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