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Prime Minister Juha Sipilä led the midterm talks, where the government found ways to improve the Finnish economy. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The government finished their two-day midterm talks late on Tuesday evening. Here are the highlights of the decisions that are aimed to boost the economy.

1. The government is aiming to support a new residence permit for international startup entrepreneurs. While the government bill is still being prepared, the new law would, for example, allow a faster processing time of the residence permit and the permit would immediately be granted for two years instead of one. Before a startup company would apply for a residence permit, it would at first have to get a statement from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes), which in turn would evaluate the international growth potential of the startup. The processing time of the residence permit could be as short as two weeks.

2. There will be three new ministers to help ease the burden of the government. Work and justice minister Jari Lindström, for example, had to take a week’s sick leave in March due to high blood pressure. The new minister portfolios are shared by the National Coalition Party (law), The Finns (culture, sports and Europe) and Centre Party (agriculture and environment).  The ministers are likely to be appointed later next week after the May Day festivities have been cleared out of the way.

3. About 6,700 poor families will receive free early childhood education.

4. The availability of pharmacy services will be increased by increasing the number of pharmacy service location licenses. Regulation of pharmacies will be eased, but pharmacy services will remain subject to license.

5. Tekes will receive a grant of 70 million euros for the years 2018 and 2019. The funding is aimed at businesses, research institutions and joint ventures of the government. The Academy of Finland will receive funding for 50 million euros for establishing flagship research institutions during the following two years.

6. Companies working in exports and tourism promotion will receive a subsidy of 50 million euros.

7. The government will grant 100 million euros to improve security. Half of the sum will be received by the Finnish army, the rest will be shared by the police and border guard.

[divider]The sustainability gap[/divider]

With the aforementioned measures, the government aims to cover the 10-billion-euro sustainability gap. The concept of sustainability gap refers to the additional financing (in relation to GDP), which is needed to balance the public sector in the long-run. During the midterm policy review, the government aims to save four billion euros in direct savings and the same amount through reforms and by boosting the growth and improving employment.

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