Essayah calls on the Finnish Government to prioritse the protection of jobs in the forest industry

Sari Essayah MEP is concerned that the forest industry has cut down activities in Finland at a rapid pace without waiting for the current recession to slow down.

“Securing jobs in the forest industry sector should be as clear a priority for the Finnish Government as has been the case for the German and French Governments in respect of the motor vehicle industry.”

Speaking at an event in Leppävirta, Ms Essayah said ”The Finnish State must not merely settle for taking payment on dividends and for pious hopes of alternative activities in localities where forest industry production is subject to severe cutbacks.” The State should rather use its voting power through an active shareholder policy and not merely submit to the corporate managements’ views which can often turn out to have been short-sighted, not giving due weight to the interests of the Finnish people. When an important industrial activity is experiencing significant cutbacks, regions and individual towns must not be left to deal with the consequences alone.

According to Ms Essayah, the forest industry package published by the Government recently is a step in the right direction, albeit insufficient as such.
“The cut in energy tax is under preparation and the demands of the Christian Democrats on the deductibility of the tax on electricity in order to ensure the competitive strength of industry are thus being taken into account.

“Some of the problems in the forest industry are the result of long-term difficulties while others result from the present economic crisis.  The measures to be undertaken should be diverse and will require a strong cooperative effort. The EU should exercise increased flexibility than at present, for example in the distribution of support grants from the globalisation fund.

“I also hope that forestry companies could take corporate social responsibility more seriously and believe in the future of the sector in Finland. Instead of closing functioning plants, forestry companies should seek to cut costs, increase efficiency and develop products in accordance with market demands.”