Jyrki Katainen


Jyrki Tapani Katainen (born 14 October 1971) is a Finnish politician who served as the European Commission's Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness from 2014 until 2019. Katainen was previously Prime Minister of Finland from 2011 to 2014 and chairman of the National Coalition Party from 2004 to 2014. He was succeeded by Alexander Stubb as chairman of Finland's National Coalition Party.[1] After stepping down as Prime Minister, Katainen was elected as European Commission Vice-President in July 2014.[2]

Jyrki Katainen
Katainen in 2023
European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness
In office
1 November 2014 – 30 November 2019
PresidentJean-Claude Juncker
Preceded byFerdinando Nelli Feroci (Industry and Entrepreneurship)
European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro
In office
16 July 2014 – 1 November 2014
PresidentJosé Manuel Barroso
Preceded bySiim Kallas (Acting)
Succeeded byPierre Moscovici (Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs)
Valdis Dombrovskis (Euro and Social Dialogue)
42nd Prime Minister of Finland
In office
22 June 2011 – 24 June 2014
PresidentTarja Halonen
Sauli Niinistö
DeputyJutta Urpilainen
Antti Rinne
Preceded byMari Kiviniemi
Succeeded byAlexander Stubb
Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
In office
19 April 2007 – 22 June 2011
Prime MinisterMatti Vanhanen
Mari Kiviniemi
Preceded byEero Heinäluoma
Succeeded byJutta Urpilainen
Minister of Finance
In office
19 April 2007 – 22 June 2011
Prime MinisterMatti Vanhanen
Mari Kiviniemi
Preceded byEero Heinäluoma
Succeeded byJutta Urpilainen
Personal details
Jyrki Tapani Katainen

(1971-10-14) 14 October 1971 (age 52)
Siilinjärvi, North Savo, Finland
Political partyNational Coalition Party
SpouseMervi Kuittinen
Alma materUniversity of Tampere
Military service
Allegiance Finland
Branch/serviceFinnish Army
Years of service1989–1990
RankSenior 1st Lieutenant

Education and personal life edit

Katainen was born in Siilinjärvi, a town in Finland. He graduated from Siilinjärvi Senior High School in 1990. He obtained a Master's degree in political science from the University of Tampere, spending one year at the University of Leicester as an Erasmus exchange student.[3]

Jyrki Katainen has two children: Saara (born in 2005) and Veera (2009). In addition to Finnish, Katainen speaks English, French and Swedish. Katainen is an accomplished chef.[citation needed]

Political career prior to 2011 edit

Katainen became involved in politics after a brief career in teaching. He was a member of the Siilinjärvi municipal council in his first political position, in 1993. He was elected member of the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta) from the district of Northern Savonia in 1999, served as the vice-chairman of the party in 2001, and became the leader in 2004.

From 1990 to 2000, Katainen was Vice President of the Youth of the European Peoples Party.

Katainen was elected Vice President of the European People's Party (EPP) for a three-year term in 2006 and won the second election in 2009.

In the 2007 parliamentary election, Katainen's National Coalition was placed second. Katainen became the Minister of Finance[4] and Deputy Prime Minister in the new cabinet with the Center, the National Coalition, Greens, and the Swedish People's party.

As the Finance Minister, Katainen noted that Europe's leaders must do more to prepare voters for “exit strategies” and noted that "it is politically difficult but we have no choice. We have to do painful things in the coming years when economies begin to recover."[5]

Prime Minister (2011–2014) edit

Katainen and Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis on 16 September 2011
Katainen and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on 29 October 2012

Following the parliamentary election held on 17 April 2011, Katainen was elected Prime Minister by the new parliament and assumed office on 22 June 2011. His centre-right National Coalition Party became the largest party for the first time in the history of Finland.[6][7] Following government-forming negotiations, Katainen was elected Prime Minister by the Finnish Parliament, and his government of six parties (National Coalition Party, Social Democratic Party of Finland, Left Alliance (Finland), Green League, Swedish People's Party of Finland and Christian Democrats (Finland) ) was formally appointed by President Tarja Halonen on 22 June 2011.[8]

In August 2013 Katainen invited participants representing political parties, interest groups and research institutes to a forum in Heureka science center. The forum was designed to explore the broad structural changes needed to improve Finland's economy over the coming years. In his speech (loosely translated to English) Prime Minister Katainen concluded that 'participants showed curiousness and commitment. I believe the discussions will provide an excellent basis for resolving difficult situations. We now need to take action and to address the structural reforms ahead.' [9]

Finland's economic problems were apparent for many, but the government was forced to delay structural reforms because socialist parties in the six-party cabinet were opposed to the new measures. In September 2013 the six-party cabinet laid out plans for reform. However, Katainen warned that the reforms were not sufficient.[10][11] In November 2012, the government elected not to have Finland to join the team of EU countries that proposed a financial transaction tax. This was a reportedly difficult issue for the six-party government because three of the parties favored the tax.[12]

Katainen's views regarding the demise of Nokia may have been controversial in the international arena, however, the company has long been part of Finland's national fabric, making it difficult to view the issue from alternative perspectives.

As Prime Minister, Katainen encouraged investment in Finland, in part because of the country's excellent education system and political stability. He also encouraged the involvement of universities and higher education institutions in civil society in order to increase the country's competitiveness in the national arena.

According to Katainen's blog there was hope in the future for Finland's economy.[13] For example, he highlighted Google’s investment of about 800 million Euros in Hamina, Russian data center Yandex’s investment in Mäntsälä and Microsoft’s plans for investing about 250 million in Finland. But he noted that Finland was still losing more jobs than those that were being created.

In November 2013, Katainen said "Finland needs more direct foreign investment to accelerate the economy and increase growth and employment. The government approved the strategy for attracting national investment last December. The strategy emphasis the ICT sector, including data centres, as a core area."[14]

European Union edit

In his position as Prime Minister, Katainen recommended that European leaders rebuild the unity of the European Union because it was undermined by the euro zone debt crisis. Speaking at a Reuters Euro Zone Summit, he noted that mutual resentment between citizens of the northern creditor states and poorer debtor countries may have fuelled euroscepticism and perhaps this may have posed a threat to the 28-nation bloc's unity.[15]

Katainen said calls for more European involvement were unpopular at a time when globalization had made people afraid of losing their jobs and lowering their standard of living.

The enforcement of overhauled budget discipline rules and the creation of a banking union with a single supervisor and a mechanism to wind up failed banks without making taxpayers pay had achieved the main changes needed to stabilize the euro zone.

Asked whether the EU treaty should be changed in the next five years after European Parliament elections in May, Katainen said he was a pragmatist and most of what Europe needed could be achieved by strengthening and extending its internal market.

According to Katainen, the key reforms to pensions, labor markets and education needed to keep European countries competitive with the rest of the world and make its social model affordable were in the hands of national governments.

Katainen called for a single market in clean technology, noting that Finland was producing third-generation non-food biofuels that could not enter some EU countries because regulation had not kept pace with innovation.

To combat eurosceptics in the pan-European election, EU leaders should address issues that are important to voters who support populist political parties.

Regarding the recent situation in Ukraine Katainen noted that Finland would not enforce economic sanctions against Russia.[16] He recommended that leaders and citizens remain level headed regarding the situation in Crimea.[17] According to the Prime Minister, sanctions against Russia may negatively impact the Finnish economy.

Vice-President of the European Commission edit

Katainen resigned as the chairman of Finland's National Coalition Party and as the Finnish Prime Minister in June 2014 and was elected as European Commissioner on 16 July 2014. He was later confirmed as Vice-President-designate for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness in the European Commission. Katainen's new responsibilities as Vice-President are to formulate recommendations to ensure that Member States' economies are on a path of sustainable of growth and job creation, to supervise the Union's common currency (the euro) and to produce the Commission's regular economic forecasts and economic indicators.[18]

According to Swedish social democrat Marita Ulvskog, "Katainen's strength is that he comes from a Nordic country, and he understands the importance of strong social partners in the labor market. We cannot solve the (Euro) crisis without social dialogue, and he understands this."[19] Katainen has been assigned the task of finding €300 billion to invest in the growth and economy of the European Union.

In a 2015 interview,[20] the former prime minister of Finland quickly pointed out that "investment is truly a golden thread that weaves together everything that we do – we need to invest in our people, in our partnerships and in our planet". This means not only "giving people the skills they need for the 21st century economy", but also promoting "mobility inside and outside the union, in a way that supports economic growth and social cohesion, protects against external threats and contributes to international development".

Ahead of the 2019 European Parliament election, Katainen was named among potential spitzenkandidats for the European People's Party.[21] However, in June 2018, Katainen announced that he was not seeking candidacy and instead was going to leave politics after the end of his term in the commission.[22]

Life after politics edit

After leaving politics, Katainen was appointed president of SITRA for a term of five years.[23][24] In June 2023, Katainen was named head of the financial group Nordea's public affairs unit.[25]

Other activities edit

Cabinets edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Finland Prepares for Prime Minister Switch as Katainen Quits". June 13, 2014 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  2. ^ "Katainen selected as EU economic affairs commissioner | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi". Archived from the original on 2014-07-19.
  3. ^ pt91. "Honour for Leicester student who went on to become Finnish Prime Minister and Vice-President of the European Commission — University of Leicester". www2.le.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Council of State – Ministers of Finance". Valtioneuvosto.fi. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Finnish minister wants exit strategy talks: Financial Times". Financial Times. 21 September 2009.
  6. ^ Zetterberg, Seppo; et al., eds. (2003). Suomen historian pikkujättiläinen [A Small Giant of the Finnish History] (in Finnish). Helsinki: Werner Söderström Publishing Ltd.
  7. ^ "Katainen villitsi kokoomusväen". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Sanoma News. 17 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Uusi hallitus nimitettiin". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Sanoma News. 22 June 2011.
  9. ^ Heureka Forum: Bold structural changes needed to improve Finland's economy Archived 2014-02-03 at the Wayback Machine. Government Communications Department 27.8.2013 16.10 Translation. Originally published in Finnish on 26 August 2013.
  10. ^ Government approved resolution on comprehensive reform of research institutes and research funding Archived 2014-02-03 at the Wayback Machine Press release 362/2013 Government Communications Department 2013/09/12
  11. ^ Jyrki Katainen: Täysin mahdollista, että lisäsäästöjä tarvitaan. STT. 25.9.2013
  12. ^ Finland steers clear of financial transaction tax yle 30.11.2012
  13. ^ "Jyrki Katainen: Uusi yrittäjyysasenne tuo toivoa". kokoomus.fi. November 18, 2013.
  14. ^ Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen Visits Google’s New Data Center In Hamina
  15. ^ Peacock, Paul Taylor (13 February 2014). "EU must rebuild unity, address populists' concerns -Finnish PM | Reuters". Reuters.
  16. ^ "Finland not prepared to enforce economic sanctions against Russia, says Katainen". www.helsinkitimes.fi. 6 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Crimea 'votes' to join Russia as EU leaders meet". EUobserver.
  18. ^ "My mandate". ec.europa.eu.
  19. ^ "Katainen - "saksalainen ilman nahkahousuja" | Kauppalehti.fi". Archived from the original on 2014-09-30.
  20. ^ "Commission guide: €315bn EU investment plan is 'new approach', says Katainen". The Parliament Magazine. June 29, 2020.
  21. ^ Race is on for Commission president in 2019, Politico 13 February 2017
  22. ^ Jyrki Katainen jättää politiikan, Stubbille voi avautua tie EU-komission puheenjohtajuustaistoon – Orpo: ”Alex hallitsee sen maailman erinomaisesti”, Helsingin Sanomat 27 June 2018
  23. ^ Leo Laikola (May 27, 2019), EU's Katainen Seeks to Become President of Finland's Sitra Bloomberg News.
  24. ^ Jyrki Katainen has been appointed as President of Sitra SITRA, press release of September 20, 2019.
  25. ^ "Nordea appoint former PM Katainen as public affairs unit chief". News. 1 June 2023.
  26. ^ Board of Governors European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
  • yle.fi/uutiset/bilderberg-kokouksessa_mukana_arvovaltainen_suomalaisseurue/6147086

External links edit

  • Jyrki Katainen's home page (in Finnish)
  • National Coalition Party of Finland
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the National Coalition Party
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
Succeeded by
Minister of Finance
Preceded by Prime Minister of Finland
Succeeded by
Preceded by Finnish European Commissioner
Succeeded by
Preceded by European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro
Succeeded byas European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs
Succeeded byas European Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue
Preceded byas European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness