Finnish EU presidency is an opportunity


Finnish EU presidency is an opportunity

The Finnish EU presidency kicked off in the very first days of July with very little pomp and circumstance; instead of grand galas, the Finns were made part of the process by Government organising a popular festival. Finland’s attitude to its presidency period is matter-of-fact and pragmatically goal-directed. This will, by no means, be an easy period, with all the particular aspects involved: there will be the call to order of the new European Parliament, various appointments, Brexit and the new Commission taking office for its five-year term.

Pharma Industry Finland PIF sees the Finnish EU presidency as an opportunity to promote European competitiveness, at the same time highlighting Finland’s spearhead themes. One particular example is digitalisation and the utilisation of data in research. Now is the appropriate time to focus on these themes because the future Commissions agenda includes significant research, innovation and industrial policy issues. At the same time, it is possible to find solutions to great challenges faced by Europe, such as ageing, the sustainability gap and the aim to further improve health and to generate new growth.

Europe needs to step up and take leadership as the innovation continent with robust new innovation operations combined with research units as well as efficiency and ability to exploit new innovations as a part of the public sector reform. 

The EU presidency provides Finland with an opportunity not only to sharpen its profile but also to generate new economic growth.  Owing to the Finnish presidency agenda and the programme of Premier Rinne, the international pharmaceutical industry has shown increasing interest in Finland.  For example, June-July saw visits of several international pharmaceutical company executives in Finland, and there seems to be consistent interest in Finland’s unique way of working also in the future.

Finland now has the opportunity to shine as the health sector model country. Our objective is to promote the international investments in Finland and to improve the attractiveness of the Finnish research ecosystem. The steps taken in the framework of the health sector growth strategy have laid a good foundation for this. Indeed, our biggest challenge is to be able to present the strengths of the Finnish health sector ecosystem in the international arenas.

One of the less highlighted aspects of the Finnish way is the inter-ministerial and cross-sectoral collaboration –  an phenomenon-based working method to reach common goals.  An example of this novel MO is the health sector growth strategy. In Europe, it is considered to be an outstanding example of inter-ministerial cooperation. The possibility to also use this approach in European decision-making is being discussed. 

Phenomenon-based management is extremely well suited for the health sector.  The European health sector should be glued together under the so-called Smart health concept. Smart health is one of the strategically interesting sectors of industry where the Commission wishes to boost European competitiveness.  It is a combination of pharmaceutical and health technologies, digitalisation and mobile technologies, with the objective of changing processes, MOs or ways to exploit technologies in healthcare. Smart Health aims at creating cross-sectoral and multi-actor value chains, with the ultimate goal of adding to people’s wellbeing. During its presidency, Finland can assume leadership in this and, at the same time, create a novel phenomenon-based leadership model for Europe to reach its common goals.