Minister Harakka: Strategic themes reaching until the 2030s are a legacy of this government term
“For quite some time now, we have been living through a period where exceptions have become the norm. The twofold crisis, the pandemic and Russia’s cruel war of aggression, are affecting transport and communications in different ways and at many levels. While this challenges us to make re-evaluations, it also reinforces our previous choices,” said Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka at the Transport and Communications Forum on 26 September 2022.
“We are having to rethink transport and logistics. We are well under way in our strategy work that takes into account the effects of the twofold crisis in the provision of transport services, the development of connections and the maintenance of the transport network.”
While there are needs for changes, Minister Harakka noted that the bold carbon neutrality target of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government has turned out to be a far-sighted plan: “By last February, we had already largely phased out fossil energy imported from the east. Climate protection is also a guarantee of security, and a precondition for genuine independence. Climate protection protects our independence.
“The basic guidelines for Finnish transport policy have been drawn up for ten years. As circumstances change, it is wiser to change your plans than to start from scratch. The policies for digital development in Finland regarding competence, equality, public administration and businesses have also been drawn up for ten years. When we exceed our targets, it is better to raise the level of ambition than to just congratulate ourselves.
Rational transport policies and effective data policies
In his speech, Minister Harakka highlighted three strategic themes that define the legacy of the current government term for the coming years and even for the decade. They are the national transport system plan, emission-free transport and the Digital Compass.
The national transport system plan, Transport 12, provides for the first time a national overview of the entire transport system, taking a long-term view and offering predictability.
“The Transport 12 plan makes for a rational transport policy. Despite tight appropriation constraints, we have managed to maximise the EU funding for our transport infrastructure projects,” Minister Harakka said and expressed his thanks to the stakeholders and parliamentary parties that participated in the work and enabled the common vision.
Another important project prepared in broad-based cooperation is the Roadmap for Fossil-free Transport, a tool drawing on evidence-based data to achieve emission reductions in mobility and logistics.
“Although the exceptional circumstances have slowed down the take-up of measures to reduce transport emissions, we have a clear direction which we have agreed on together. The Roadmap for Fossil-free Transport is an example of how data turns into decisions.
The third programme which Minister Harakka highlighted is the Digital Compass. The Digital Compass is a ten-year strategy that aims to make digital transformation and the data economy better serve citizens, communities and businesses.
“Finland is the first EU country to adopt its own strategy as a model for others. In this respect, as with information policy and open data initiatives, Finland exercises far more influence in the EU than its size would suggest,” Minister Harakka said.
Theme of the Forum: a well-functioning Finland of the future and its secure networks and services
In addition to Minister Harakka’s speech, the Forum held two debates with three themes: the effective functioning of society, the availability of services and Finland’s accessibility.
In the first round of discussions, Riikka Heikinheimo, Director of Research, Development and Innovation at the Confederation of Finnish Industries, Janne Känkänen, Director of the National Emergency Supply Agency, and Samuli Puroila, Specialist in Climate and Nature Solutions at Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund for Research and Development, explored various perspectives of what a safe and well-functioning society needs from transport and communications.
In the second discussion, Minna Kivimäki, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and Directors-General Kirsi Karlamaa from the Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, Jussi Kaurola from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, and Kari Wihlman from the Transport Infrastructure Agency described how the Ministry and the agencies in its branch of government are responding to the proposed needs.
Transport and Communications Forum available online
The Transport and Communications Forum is an invitation-only seminar organised by the Ministry of Transport and Communications annually for opinion leaders in the transport and communications sector. The Ministry of Transport and Communications organised the 2022 Forum together with the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
A live webcast of the event was available on the Forum’s event website on 26 September at 13.00–15.00. A recording of the event is available on the Ministry of Transport and Communications’ YouTube channel. Sign language interpretation was available at the event.
Attendees were able to take part in the discussion in the event’s chatroom. Use hashtag #LVF2022 to participate in discussion on Twitter.
Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka, requests for interviews: Marjo Jäppinen, tel. +358 400 804 730, marjo.jappinen(at)gov.fi