The fact that former Finnish PM Jyrki Katainen will be in charge of jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness in Juncker´s new European Commission illustrates what is wrong with the European Union.
Judge yourselves whether the new Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness is the right man for his job after reading what Björn Wahlroos, former economics professor and probably the most influential Finnish business executive and investor right now, has to say about the government Katainen led:
Finland is in a “catastrophic” and “murderous” economic situation, facing a challenge greater than in the doldrums of 1991, estimates Björn Wahlroos.
The outspoken tycoon refers to a recent interview in which Anders Borg, the Swedish Minister of Finance, suggested that Finland is a cautionary example of how a country can destroy its competitiveness.
“We messed up a couple of labour market agreements and tried to rectify that with measures that further increased labour market rigidity. Costs crept up. The results are evident: jobs keep on disappearing,” states Wahlroos.
A traditional measure of the competitiveness of an economy is to examine its terms of trade – the value of its exports relative to that of its imports. “In Finland, it has deteriorated by 30 per cent, which is unusual. In the meantime, wages have increased by 40 per cent,” lists Wahlroos.
“Wages have crept up by 20 per cent over the past six years alone – during a period when the gross domestic product has failed to grow one bit. In fact, it has dropped. If you're asking whether this is a problem, the answer would be yes!”
Industries, in turn, have refrained from making major investments after the financial crisis swept over Finland in 2008. “A substantial amount of jobs has disappeared. And here's the regrettable part: more will disappear,” predicts Wahlroos. --
In effect, the Government of Stubb continues to carry out the government programme hammered out by the Government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (NCP) in 2011. “It's founded on as bad a premise as possible. What's regrettable in terms of political history is that it was founded on a bad premise partly knowingly,” Wahlroos states.
Katainen resigned as captain of the sinking Finnish ship in June in the knowledge that he would be rewarded for his failure with one of the exorbitantly well-paid EU top jobs. You´ll never walk alone, if you belong to the "club" ....