Jyrki Katainen

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Jyrki Katainen
Jyrki Katainen in June 2013 (cropped).jpg
European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness
Taking office
1 November 2014
President Jean-Claude Juncker
Succeeding Ferdinando Nelli Feroci (Industry and Entrepreneurship)
European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro
Assumed office
16 July 2014
President José Manuel Barroso
Preceded by Siim Kallas (Acting)
Succeeded by Pierre Moscovici (Designate; Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs)
Valdis Dombrovskis (Designate; Euro and Social Dialogue)
42nd Prime Minister of Finland
In office
22 June 2011 – 24 June 2014
President Tarja Halonen
Sauli Niinistö
Deputy Jutta Urpilainen
Antti Rinne
Preceded by Mari Kiviniemi
Succeeded by Alexander Stubb
Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
In office
19 April 2007 – 22 June 2011
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen
Mari Kiviniemi
Preceded by Eero Heinäluoma
Succeeded by Jutta Urpilainen
Minister of Finance
In office
19 April 2007 – 22 June 2011
Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen
Mari Kiviniemi
Preceded by Eero Heinäluoma
Succeeded by Jutta Urpilainen
Personal details
Born (1971-10-14) 14 October 1971 (age 42)
Siilinjärvi, Finland
Political party National Coalition Party
Spouse(s) Mervi Katainen
Children 2
Alma mater University of Tampere
Religion Lutheranism
Military service
Allegiance  Finland
Service/branch Finnish Army
Years of service 1989–1990
Rank Senior 1st Lieutenant

Jyrki Tapani Katainen (born 14 October 1971) is a Finnish politician who was the Prime Minister of Finland from 2011 to June 2014 and chairman of the National Coalition Party from 2004 to 2014. Katainen was succeeded by Alexander Stubb as chairman of Finland's National Coalition Party.[1] After stepping down as Prime Minister, Jyrki Katainen was elected as the European Commission Vice-President, responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro in July 2014.[2]

Education and personal life[edit]

Katainen was born in Siilinjärvi, a town in Finland. He graduated from Siilinjärvi High School and obtained a Master's degree in political science from the University of Tampere.

Jyrki Katainen and his wife Mervi Katainen have 2 children: Saara (born in 2005) and Veera (2009). In addition to Finnish, Katainen speaks English, French and Swedish. He enjoys horse riding and cooking. He often runs marathons and his most recent record was 3.54.23.[3]

Political career prior to 2011[edit]

Following a brief career in teaching, Katainen soon became involved in politics. He became a member of the Siilinjärvi municipal council in his first formal political position, in 1993. He was then 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 was victorious in a second election in 2009.

In the 2007 parliamentary election, Katainen's National Coalition was placed second. Katainen became the Finance Minister 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” that bring spiralling public sector debts back under control, noting that "It is always politically difficult but we simply have no choice. We will have to do very painful things in forthcoming years when the economy starts to recover."[4]

Prime Minister (2011-2014)[edit]

Following the parliamentary election held on April 17, 2011, Katainen was elected Prime Minister by the new parliament and assumed office on June 22, 2011. His centre-right National Coalition Party became the largest party for the first time in the history of Finland.[5][6] 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 June 22, 2011.[7]

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.' [8]

Finland's economic problems have been visible for years, but the government has been forced to delay structural reforms because socialist parties in the six-party cabinet have opposed measures. In September 2013 the six-party cabinet laid out plans for some reforms. However, Katainen warned that the proposed reforms were not sufficient.[9][10] 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.[11]

As Prime Minister, Katainen was very supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship. He attended a number of 'Slush' events in Helsinki, where his youthful enthusiasm was infectious.In 2013, the Prime Minister was a key note speaker at the Slush Helsinki annual event. In 2013 there were about 5,500 entrepreneurs and private equity investors and venture capitalists who participated in the Slush Fair. Overall, the investors had a positive attitude, and they believed that, despite the possibilities of failure in the tech industry, there was faith in the future, and that there were tremendous opportunities in the country. Katainen said that "at Slush there is a spirit of changing the world.".[12]

Mr. 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.

The Prime Minister encouraged investment in Finland, one of the world’s most entrepreneurial countries, 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 Prime Minister Katainen’s blog (loosely translated into English from Finnish) there was hope in the future for Finland's economy.[13] For example, the Prime Minister 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 the Prime Minister noted that Finland is still losing more jobs than those that are created. He urged Finns to be more and more flexible in the labor market in order to meet the country’s the fast-growing business needs.

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]

International politics[edit]


As Prime Minister, Katainen recommended that European leaders should rebuild the unity of the European Union that was undermined by the euro zone debt crisis. Speaking at a Reuters Euro Zone Summit, the center-right leader said mutual resentment between citizens of northern creditor states and poorer debtor countries was fuelling euroscepticism and posed a threat to the 28-nation bloc's unity.[15] During the Summit, the Prime Minister noted that "In some countries people are thinking that integration is not fair if we have to pay for other countries' decision-makers' mistakes."

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.

"I don't see the areas in which we should go deeper," he said of the economic governance of the euro zone. The EU could develop its single market further, notably in energy, and boost defense cooperation within its existing structures.

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 the Prime Minister remarked 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.

South America[edit]

In 2013, Prime Minister Katainen and a business delegation of 23 Finnish companies visited Chile to participate in a summit and to discuss bilateral and trade relations.[18]

During the visit Alberto Fernández, Regional Director South America South, Power Plants, Wärtsilä Argentina and Rodrigo Tapia, Business Development Manager, Power Plants, Wärtsilä Chile joined the delegation in Santiago de Chile, Chile to take part in meetings regarding the energy and mining sector among members of government, embassy and the Finnish companies.


Prime Minister Katainen and Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto visited Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Tanzania in January 2014. In Addis Ababa, the team reviewed an education programme supported by Finland that benefits over 20 million Ethiopian children. According to the Prime Minister "The reform of the Ethiopian education system is a well-suited project for Finland. We have contributed to development cooperation in Ethiopia since 1967. Development cooperation also provides an excellent basis for Finnish companies in Ethiopia and other African countries. I am confident that our reputation as a country with top-quality expertise in education may open up doors in various other business sectors in Africa, too."

During their visit to Addis Ababa, Prime Minister Katainen and Minister for International Development Haavisto met with the President and Prime Minister of Ethiopia and with the President of the African Union. One of the visit's main objectives was to promote exports and to support Finnish business activities. In Ethiopia, the ministers were accompanied by a Team Finland delegation consisting of some 30 representatives of Finnish businesses. On Wednesday, January 29, the ministers continued to Tanzania.

In Tanzania, Prime Minister Katainen and team Finland signed a General Budget Support contract and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding mineral and forest sectors. The team also met with the President of Zanzibar, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein in Zanzibar, held discussions with Economists, businessmen and officials from international organisations and visited the Dar es Salaam Port before departing Tanzania on January 30. [19]

Political views[edit]

On February 5, 2014, the Prime Minister issued a statement to Parliament regarding the Government's policy in 2014. In the statement, Prime Minister Katainen noted that the government had three major tasks in 2014. The three tasks were : 1) improve the credibility of public finances in Finland 2) improve conditions for economic growth and promote job creation in the private sector and 3) re-examine the role of the European Union.[20]

Vice-President of the European Commission[edit]

In April 2014 Katainen announced that he would resign as the chairman of Finland's National Coalition Party and as the Finnish Prime Minister in June 2014. After his premiership, Jyrki Katainen was elected as the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro on July 16, 2014 by a vote of 421 to 170 and was later confirmed as Vice-President of the European Commission. Katainen's new responsibility as vice-president is to oversee the Commission's work in monitoring whether Member States' fiscal policies are in line with their European commitments. He is also responsible for formulating recommendations for countries to ensure their economies are on a path of sustainable of growth and job creation. Katainen has specific responsibility for the Union's common currency, the euro. He also produces the Commission's regular economic forecasts and economic indicators.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Finland Prepares for Prime Minister Switch as Katainen Quits - Bloomberg
  2. ^ http://yle.fi/uutiset/katainen_selected_as_eu_economic_affairs_commissioner/7358981
  3. ^ Miten päädyin politiikkaan?
  4. ^ Financial Times: Finnish minister wants exit strategy talks
  5. ^ Zetterberg, Seppo et al., ed. (2003). Suomen historian pikkujättiläinen [A Small Giant of the Finnish History] (in Finnish). Helsinki: Werner Söderström Publishing Ltd. 
  6. ^ "Katainen villitsi kokoomusväen". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish) (Sanoma News). 17 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "Uusi hallitus nimitettiin". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish) (Sanoma News). 22 June 2011. 
  8. ^ Heureka Forum: Bold structural changes needed to improve Finland's economy. Government Communications Department 27.8.2013 16.10 Translation. Originally published in Finnish on 26 August 2013.
  9. ^ Government approved resolution on comprehensive reform of research institutes and research funding Press release 362/2013 Government Communications Department 2013/09/12
  10. ^ Jyrki Katainen: Täysin mahdollista, että lisäsäästöjä tarvitaan. STT. 25.9.2013
  11. ^ Finland steers clear of financial transaction tax yle 30.11.2012
  12. ^ Ideas and money flow at Slush Helsinki By David J. Cord, November 2013
  13. ^ Jyrki Katainen: Uusi yrittäjyysasenne tuo toivoa | Kokoomus
  14. ^ Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen Visits Google’s New Data Center In Hamina
  15. ^ EU must rebuild unity, address populists' concerns -Finnish PM | Reuters
  16. ^ Finland not prepared to enforce economic sanctions against Russia, says Katainen
  17. ^ EUobserver / Crimea 'votes' to join Russia as EU leaders meet
  18. ^ http://www.wartsila.com/ss/Satellite?c=WContent_C&childpagename=Argentina%2FLayout&cid=1278530854252&p=1278518557889&packedargs=locale%3Den_AR%26seoname%3Dnodata%26site%3DArgentina&pagename=WCom%2FCommon%2FDefaultWrapper
  19. ^ Better education for Ethiopian children with Finland’s support - Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland: Current affairs
  20. ^ Katainen: Hallituksella kolme keskeistä tehtävää | Kokoomus
  21. ^ http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/katainen/mandate/index_en.htm
  • yle.fi/uutiset/bilderberg-kokouksessa_mukana_arvovaltainen_suomalaisseurue/6147086

External links[edit]

Media related to Jyrki Katainen at Wikimedia Commons

Party political offices
Preceded by
Ville Itälä
Leader of the National Coalition Party
Succeeded by
Alexander Stubb
Political offices
Preceded by
Eero Heinäluoma
Deputy Prime Minister of Finland
Succeeded by
Jutta Urpilainen
Minister of Finance
Preceded by
Mari Kiviniemi
Prime Minister of Finland
Succeeded by
Alexander Stubb
Preceded by
Olli Rehn
Finnish European Commissioner
Preceded by
Siim Kallas
European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro
Succeeded by
Pierre Moscovici

as European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs
Succeeded by
Valdis Dombrovskis

as European Commissioner for the Euro and Social Dialogue
Preceded by
Ferdinando Nelli Feroci
as European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship
European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness