Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has issued a New Year message reflecting on the year just gone, and looking ahead to 2020.
She says 2019 has been “a busy and eventful year” citing national and European parliamentary elections, and Finland holding the rotating Presidency of the European Council.
“In the course of the year, Finland has had three regular governments and two caretaker governments” Marin notes.
The PM, sworn in during December, says that Finland’s strength “lies in its people and their knowledge” and that from modest beginnings Finland has become one of the most highly educated and skilled nations in the world.
Marin, the world’s youngest sitting prime minister, says that Finland “must have the courage to keep investing in people and knowledge” and that in a rapidly changing world “simply reworking old recipes is not good enough.”
New Year brings new government initiatives
The government has been operating under the confines of the previous government’s budget plan during 2019, but from January will be able to use their own budget plans to make policy changes.
“The Finnish Government has taken up the challenge of delivering bold, stable and sustainable reform. The aim of our Government programme, and of our efforts to implement it, is to build up Finland as a financially responsible, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable society” says Marin.
“We believe that society can and must be developed in a balanced way, keeping all citizens and regions on board” she adds.
The prime minister mentions a raise in pensions for more than 600,000 Finns; more funding for education and training; and extra money for basic services as government initiatives to look forward to in 2020.
Marin also says Finland should take its own domestic actions to fight climate change, but also play a role internationally.
“We are entering a decade during which we must find solutions for combating climate change” she says, and Finland has a 2035 deadline to be carbon-neutral.
The prime minister also mentions the repeal of the unpopular activation model from 1st January 2020, so that “unemployed jobseekers will be able to focus on looking for work without having to worry about losing income.”
“The strength of a society is measured not by the wealth of its most affluent members, but by how well its most vulnerable citizens are able to cope” says the PM.