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Permanent Secretaries publish the public officials’ outlook of the opportunities for Finland for the upcoming government term

Government Communications Department
Publication date 28.1.2019 9.15
Press release 46/2019

The Permanent Secretaries of different ministries have written down their shared outlook regarding the key challenges and opportunities for Finland in the next few years. The Opportunities for Finland document published on 28 January provides a knowledge base and broadly-based outlook of the public officials for discussions relating to the elections this spring and preparation of the next government programme.

The publication identifies the key factors of change and designates sets of solutions that will be significant during the upcoming government term. The factors and solutions are examined in the context of three main objectives, the achievement of which unites all ministries: promoting equality, achieving sustainable growth, and ensuring a secure and stable society. As a whole, the aim is a sustainable society in the long term, with a view that extends across electoral terms.

The main message of the Permanent Secretaries is that securing the welfare society in future will require significant reforms in the 2020s. The aim of the document is to contribute to supporting the next government, particularly in making difficult decisions.

The commitment to mitigating climate change requires significant policy measures both in Finland and globally, and these must be decided on quickly. In addition, if the structural imbalance of revenue and expenditure is not corrected, public debt may grow into something that cannot be controlled in future. Demographic change has an important role in this as well. However, all of these challenges also mean opportunities. Solutions and investments are needed on the global level, and Finland may have a key role to play in this.

Opportunities for Finland presents views on 12 main themes

The next Government of Finland must be provided with good conditions for making difficult decisions, and we must have uniform, forward-looking ministries to implement these. The outlook document of the Permanent Secretaries is constructed around 12 main themes that provide a knowledge base for election discussions and government formation negotiations. In all of these issues it is important to acknowledge Finland’s numerous interlinkages and connections to European and global development trends and decisions. The instability of the international system may make it more difficult to find solutions.

From the perspective of the society, raising the level of competence and education, rate of employment, and social security reform constitute an interlinked package. To secure funding for the welfare state, we must bring the employment rate closer to that in the other Nordic countries, with the aim set as high as 80%. Social security reform will, in turn, be launched by making decisions on the objectives and value choices. We also need to increase employment-based immigration.

The greatest opportunities for sustainable growth relate to technological transformation and embracing global trends. Finland is active in promoting the international rule-based system and a stable, secure and safe European Union. Issues that require more attention in the new kind of risk environment include hybrid and cyber security. Our safe and secure nation where the rule of law prevails strengthens inclusion, the rights of participation and active involvement, and good relations between the demographic groups. Our national defence must also be maintained on a long-term basis.

In decision-making broad understanding of the complex and interlinked issues is needed. This document helps to grasp the large-scale development trends and build decision-making with a long-term perspective.

Inquiries: Paula Lehtomäki State Secretary, tel. +295 160 280, Jouni Varanka, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +295 160 177, jouni.varanka(a), and Kaisa Oksanen, Chief Specialist, tel. +295 160 430, kaisa.oksanen(at), Prime Minister’s Office