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Economic Affairs Minister expects more plant closures

Minister Mika Lintilä said he was aware of an impending closure, but did not disclose its location or how large it was.

Mika Lintilä puhuu lehdistölle.
Finland's Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä. Image: Arttu Timonen / Yle

Speaking in an Yle television interview on Friday morning, Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Cen) said that he fears that there will be more industrial plant closures seen in the country.

“Unfortunately, it will happen in some localities. I can anticipate the next place, but I will not say [where],” Lintilä said in response to the question of whether there will be new plant closures like the announced shutdown of a paper mill in Jämsä and the expected closure of an oli refinery in Naantali.

Lintilä also declined to disclose the size of the plant he was referring to. However, he pledged that the state would help all localities to deal with the impact of factory closures in the same way.

Lintilä is scheduled to travel to Naantali Friday with Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen (SDP). According to Lintilä, a structural working group will be established for Naantali if a decision is made to close the Neste refinery located there. Neste is considering closing the facility due to declining demand for fossil fuel products and low competitiveness.

Tourism sector wants fewer restrictions

Lintilä also commented on tourism in Lapland. Tourism sector businesses in Lapland say that not only has the government not solved the problems facing the sector in that region, but rather has created more. Tourism operators are now proposing that quarantines of more than three days and the requirement for a second coronavirus test for international tourists should be waived.

According to Lintilä, there are differences in how government policy is being interpreted. He himself interprets the policy for trips of more than three days differently than the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

“If a traveler comes from a so-called red light country and has a negative test result, they should then have had another test after the third day. But there would be no forced quarantine, but it would be voluntary or isolation arranged by the [tour]organizer,” Lintilä explained.

According to Lintilä, there are no plans right now for the government to make another review of testing guidelines, but a discussion is continuing on how they are to be interpreted.

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