The American Royal Caribbean Cruises company has said it would order a new luxury cruiser from the Turku Shipyard, but would only pay for the ship once it has been completed.
STX has asked the Government to lend the 50 million euros it needs to complete the liner, which carries a price tag of about 970 million euros.
Katainen has been under considerable pressure to respond to the request. The Finnish Maritime Industry earlier sent the Prime Minister a confidential letter saying the entire sector would be at risk if the order is lost.
Quizzed on the matter on Yle’s Prime Minister’s radio interview programme, Katainen criticized competition in the ship building sector, saying that the rules of the market economy had long been distorted.
“South Korea and European countries, among others, support big projects in different ways. It’s not so much the different players in the field that are competing; rather, it’s states competing with each other. What’s at issue is what kinds of risks each state is willing to take with taxpayers’ money,” Katainen said.
Balancing between tax payers and businesses
According to the Prime Minister, Finland needs to formulate a consistent, long-term stance on Government financial support, which should take into account the interests of both tax payers and business.
“We cannot think that the weaknesses of some company should be compensated with taxpayers’ money. Any support should not distort competition or put others into difficult situations,“ the Prime Minister explained.
Katainen would not directly comment on possible financial support to help STX get the American order.
The Government is working to secure the multimillion-euro deal using similar measures implemented in earlier ventures, Katainen revealed, adding that there has been dialogue with sector representatives.
“We’ve told the shipyard what’s possible and what’s not,” Katainen said.