New report: Finland - A Political Battleground

The Finnish centre-right to extreme-right-wing government has decided to radically reform the Finnish labour market and welfare system, despite opposition from both within and outside Finland. The reforms now being pushed through will change the fundamental structures of the Finnish system in a way that may prove irreversible. These developments challenge progressive parties and the trade union movement to build new visions and alternatives that can protect the Nordic welfare state and rebuild social dialogue in the future. New report written by Kaisa Vatanen.

The radical reforms are being pushed through at a time when Finland is facing the challenges of an ageing population and low birth rates. Combined with demographic trends, the reforms will make it difficult to maintain existing welfare services.

The reforms include significant cuts to unemployment benefits and the social security system, which will particularly affect families with children, the disabled and vulnerable people. 

Comprehensive social and health reforms and planned labour market reforms will reduce the ability of trade unions to negotiate, represent and defend workers' rights. This could have questionable consequences for the internationally recognised right to strike.

Proposed changes to immigration policy, if passed by parliament, will make both humanitarian and economic migration to Finland much more difficult.

It is a good sign for the future that the trade union movement has shown itself to be united and able to mobilise. However, the government has learnt from previous attempts to push through similar reforms and refuses to back down or even enter into meaningful discussions about the reforms.

Download and read our new report: A Political Battlefield - Finland's Radical Restructuring of the Labour Market and Welfare State now!

About the Author:
Kaisa Vatanen is Senior Insights Manager at Datapraxis. Prior to joining in early 2024 she worked for over 15 years in Finnish and European progressive politics. Most recently she was Head of Policy and Research of the SDP Finland, responsible for the party’s policy preparation, programme work and research. Prior to that she worked as Director of the think tank Kalevi Sorsa Foundation where she continues to serve as Vice President, and in different positions in the Finnish and European Social Democratic movement.


A political battleground

Vatanen, Kaisa

A political battleground

Finlandʿs radical restructuring of the labour market and welfare state
Stockholm, 2024

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