New budget gives €5.5 billion coronavirus recovery shot in the arm

Government leaders say this money will help boost Finland's economy and protect vulnerable young people - opposition leaders say some of it is unnecessary debt.

Finnish government leaders give briefing on 4th supplementary budget, Helsinki 2nd June 2020 / Credit: Lauri Heikkinen, VNK

The Government has unveiled it’s new supplementary budget which gives a €5.5 billion shot in the arm to Finland, to help the country recover from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the key areas which will receive extra funding include:

  • €1.4 billion for municipalities and hospital districts;
  • €110 million set aside to purchase stockpiles of any eventual coronavirus vaccine;
  • €124 million to fund an extra 4,800 university places;
  • €100 million to compensate publich transport for loss of ticket revenues;
  • €320 million for children and young people, in particular the well-being of younger kids;
  • €60 million for a new architecture and design museum in Helsinki;
  • €404 million to develop waterways;
  • €300 million in cost support for businesses;
  • €7.5 million for local and regional journalism, and to support news agencies;
  • €755.8 million for local transport in Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Oulu urban areas;

The budget will be sent to Parliament this Friday 5th June for MPs to vote on.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) delivers briefing on 4th supplementary budget, Helsinki 2nd June 2020 / Credit: Lauri Heikkinen, VNK

Political reaction to the new budget proposal

Government coalition parties of course have praised the latest new supplementary budget, with Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) highlighting how the budget “will also focus on skills and growth and ecological reconstruction” as it promotes cycling and train travel, and restores biodiversity.

Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) saying that children and young people in particular need support after the coronavirus crisis.

“We in the government have decided on a welfare programme for children and young people to support the most vulnerable. We secured child protection resources and invest in mental health services” she says.

Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni (Centre) says that the stimulus package will “support Finland back on the path to growth.”

Opposition politicians have welcomed some aspects of the new budget but criticised others.

“The supplementary budget was supposed to deal with the coronavirus crisis, but it became a reckless distribution of money” says National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo.

“A total of €19 billion in debt will be taken out this year, and some of the government’s proposals are necessary stimulus measures. Some, on the other hand, have nothing to do with the stimulus, they are new debt. We can’t afford that now” he adds.