Economic gap between Finland and other Nordic countries widens

During the last decade, Finland was lagging behind Sweden and Norway. In the years to come, the gap will grow wider if structural bottlenecks are not cleared. [Shutterstock/Kittyfly]

While Sweden and Norway’s economies are expected to respectively grow by 20% in the next 10 years, growth in Finland over the same period is only expected to see a 10% increase, according to a report issued by the Finnish finance ministry on Monday, prompting Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen to ask whether Finland wants to be a Nordic welfare country in future.

During the last decade, Finland was lagging behind Sweden and Norway. In the years to come, the gap will grow wider if structural bottlenecks are not cleared.

Finland needs a larger working force, meaning its current net migration rate of 18,000 should increase considerably. Especially needed are highly skilled workers and investments. Finland is currently looking into revising the country’s residency procedures by having highly skilled foreign workers work immediately upon arrival while waiting for their residency permit to be approved.

The ministry’s economic outlook also highlighted the country’s low 72% employment rate and low level of productivity. To remedy the situation, the ministry suggested making labour more flexible, raising productivity, and ensuring internationally high investments in R&D in new products and services. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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