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Finnish PM foresees jobs growth – and cabinet reshuffle

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said on Saturday that he expects the employment situation to improve next autumn. He said he will discuss possible changes within the cabinet on Monday with newly-elected NCP chair Petteri Orpo.

Juha Sipilä Keskustan puoluekokouksessa Seinäjoella 10. kesäkuuta.
Juha Sipilä addressed the Centre Party congress in Seinäjoki on 11 June. Image: Yle

In Seinäjoki on Saturday, Finnish premier Juha Sipilä addressed his Centre Party's summer convention, one of four party congresses this weekend in Finland. He was unanimously re-elected as party chair for another two years, with no challenging candidate. His three-party centre-right coalition took office just over a year ago.

Addressing the party faithful, Sipilä praised the so-called competitiveness pact – the central plank of his government's platform – which was finally approved by all trade unions on Friday.

Sipilä promised it will stoke the faint sparks of economic recovery. He said that job creation is his government's top priority – but warned there is typically some lag time before economic recovery improves employment figures.

Sipilä and Soini congratulate Orpo

Sipilä congratulated Interior Minister Petteri Orpo on his election as chair of the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) and thanked his predecessor, Finance Minister Alexander Stubb, for his work.

The PM said he will discuss "practical matters" with Orpo on Monday and suggested that there may be changes in ministerial portfolios. However he stressed that this would be purely up to the NCP. Orpo has said he will probably replace Alexander Stubb as finance minister.

"Those practical matters are ministerial selections, for instance," he told Yle later. "It's clear that there will be ministerial changes. We have to discuss those, and working procedures. We still have a lot to decide before the summer break."

Sipilä said the change in party leadership would not affect the government programme, adding that "new means to achieve its goals are needed".

The chair of the third government partner, Finns Party chair Timo Soini, also congratulated Orpo on his win and reiterated that any reshuffle of positions is entirely for the NCP to decide. Soini quipped that instead of the "SSS" government of Sipilä, Stubb and Soini, the nation now had an "SOS" cabinet.

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