Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has questioned forest products giant UPM's decision to close a profitable paper mill at a time when, in her words, "we’re living through Finland’s worst postwar crisis".
The company announced on Wednesday that it will shut the 66-year-old Kaipola paper mill in Jämsä, central Finland, with the loss of up to 450 jobs.
Speaking on Yle TV1's Ykkösaamu chat show on Saturday, the PM pointed out that UPM made a profit of 1.4 billion euros last year and has sharply raised its dividends.
"In this situation, redundancies are a tough blow to people, and raise a lot of questions. How much is enough? Now that we're in an extremely deep crisis and difficult economic situation, it also raises the question of why precisely now? Was it necessary to close a profitable factory right now?"
Visiting the mill on Friday, Marin called on UPM management to show more social responsibility.
EU recovery crucial for Finnish exports
Marin also discussed the EU's 750-billion-euro economic stimulus package aimed at coronavirus recovery, which she is to defend in Parliament after it reconvenes next week. The PM argued that the recovery of the entire EU's economy is crucial for the Finnish economy and jobs.
"The recovery of the European economy is a question of primary importance to Finland's industry and exports," she said.
The opposition Finns Party and Christian Democrats say they will try to block parliamentary approval of the plan.
Marin pointed out that while Finland's economy situation is serious, the country has so far suffered less from the coronavirus crisis than most other EU countries.