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Helsinki Mayor relieved over ‘failed exercise’ in health reform

Long-standing sote critic Jan Vapaavuori says the reform package that was finally rejected on Friday was a ‘failed exercise’.

Jan Vapaavuori
Jan Vapaavuori Image: Pertti Nisonen / Helsingin kaupunki

Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori says that he is relieved to hear that the government’s package of social and healthcare reforms will not be passed after the government resigned on Friday. Vapaavuori has long been a critic of the reform, which would have diverted resources from the capital to other regions, but says that the constitutional issues with the legislation were the biggest red flag.

“I have consistently said it was clear that it would fail,” said Vapaavuori on Friday. “And that for several weeks everyone who can read the constitution has realised that it would fail. But it’s good that we can draw a line under this failed exercise.”

The National Coalition politician said that he felt the package, which combined a major expansion of private sector involvement with an entirely new layer of regional government, was simply too big to pass and that ‘megareforms’ would be off the agenda for a while.

“Now we surely understand that we don’t need to get into a panic and build new models, but that we should carefully analyse what has happened and why it went like this,” said Vapaavuori. “Then we’ll calmly take steps in the right direction.”

The mayor, who repeatedly joined forces with other municipal leaders from larger towns and cities to criticise the reforms, said the government was too stubborn in trying to force through its model and that ‘not even the fourth proposal was even close to being constitutional’.

He denied, however, that this was a personal victory.

“I think the Finnish people have won,” said Vapaavuori. “As we won’t have a reform that would have taken the country backwards, more towards the past than the future, against all trends in the global economy.”

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