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Nokia, Perlos and STX Rauma: Finland collects 30mn from EU employment fund

Finland has been one of the main beneficiaries of the EU globalisation fund since it was established a decade ago. Companies receive financial assistance from the fund to support employees who've been made redundant. European Affairs minister Sampo Terho says this is no matter of pride for Finland, but notes that the country is still a net contributor into the EU.

Nokia contractor Perlos cut hundreds of jobs a decade ago. Image: YLE

Last year Finland stood alongside Belgium and Spain as the largest recipients of cash from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

Altogether Finland has received 30 million euros out of the EU fund, which is aimed at to helping workers affected by closures of factories or the decline of economic sectors driven by changing trade patterns. It was set up 10 years ago, and distributes some 150 million euros a year.

An EU member state may apply for support from the fund whenever 500 or more employees are made redundant at one time at a single company or within a sector. The job losses must be linked to globalisation or a global economic crisis.

Companies receive financial assistance from the fund to support employees who have been made redundant, assisting them with retraining and entrepreneurship, for instance.

Finland a top beneficiary

Globalisation has inflicted significant blows to the Finnish job market. The first Finnish company to receive support from the EU globalisation fund was Perlos, a Nokia phone subcontractor, back in 2007 when the fund had just been established. Later it was joined by Nokia itself as well as STX Finland's Rauma shipyard and Broadcom Communications.

This year retail chains Anttila and Stockmann have also applied, as Finnish clothing stores lose customers, unable to keep up with giant foreign web retailers.

No contradiction, says Terho

Minister of European Affairs Sampo Terho tells Yle that this top ranking is not a matter of pride for Finland, but notes that the country still pays more into the EU than it gets from the union.

Sampo Terho
Terho Image: Yle

"It's good that Finland has learned to tap into these kinds of fund. This is of course the kind of support that no-one would wish to have to apply for," Terho notes.

Terho, who represents the eurosceptic Blue Reform group, reiterates the government's stance that Finland does not want to expand common responsibility for the European economy. In other words, Finland takes advantage of the EU globalisation fund, but is not eager to increase help for others. Terho sees no contradiction in this.

"It is in Finland's national interest and the taxpayers' interest not to boost common responsibility. Of course we should apply for EU funds. After we have paid for them ourselves," Terho says.

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