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|44th Prime Minister of Finland|
29 May 2015
|Speaker of the Parliament of Finland|
28 April 2015 - 29 May 2015
|Member of the Parliament of Finland|
20 April 2011
25 April 1961 |
|Political party||Centre Party|
|Alma mater||University of Oulu|
Juha Petri Sipilä (Finnish pronunciation: ['juh? 'sipilæ]; born in Veteli, 25 April 1961) is the current Prime Minister of Finland. A relative newcomer to politics, he has a successful background in business. He has been the leader of the Centre Party since 9 June 2012. After leading the Centre party to victory in the 2015 general election, Sipilä formed a centre-right coalition and was appointed Prime Minister by the Finnish Parliament on 29 May 2015.
Sipilä graduated from Puolanka lukio (Finland's university-preparatory high school), completing the matriculation examination with high marks in 1980. In 1986 Sipilä earned his Master's degree in engineering from the University of Oulu.
Sipilä's career started at Lauri Kuokkanen Ltd., first as a thesis worker and later as a product development manager. Changing jobs, he became a partner and later CEO at Solitra Oy. In 1998, Sipilä started his own business, Fortel Invest Oy. In 2002-2005 he worked as the CEO of Elektrobit Oyj, then returned to his own business.
Sipilä was managing director of Solitra in 1992 and became the main owner in 1994. Sipilä sold Solitra to American ADC Telecommunications in 1996, becoming a multimillionaire from the proceeds. Business ADC Mersum Oy was resold to Remec in 2001.
In 1996, Sipilä's income was the highest in Finland. According to Ilta-Sanomat he has been on the Board of Directors of 120 companies.
As a student, Sipilä worked for a short time in the Finnish Centre Youth, but otherwise he did not have experience in party politics before being elected to the Finnish Parliament in 2011 with 5,543 personal votes.
In April 2012, Sipilä announced his candidacy for the chairman's position in the party congress of the summer. On June 9, 2012, the party congress elected him chairman. He beat Tuomo Puumala in the second round by 1251 to 872 delegate votes. Sipilä led his party to victory in the 2015 election, where the Centre Party gained 14 seats compared to the previous election. With 30,758 personal votes he was the most popular candidate in the election. Following the election, he was tasked with forming a government coalition; and as the leader of the Centre Party, he began formal negotiations with the Finns Party and the National Coalition Party and formed a three-party majority coalition. In 2017 summer Finns Party split into two parties The Blue Reform (which is a moderate party) and The Finns Party (which is more radical party).
Sipilä's government has struggled with Finland's poor economic performance, caused according to Paul Krugman and others by the constraints of its eurozone membership and aftershocks from the European debt crisis, but also by the decline of the paper industry, the fall of Nokia and a diminution in exports to Russia. Its attempts to address the problems through policies of spending cuts and reducing labour costs have been controversial, particularly cuts to education spending that are seen as threatening Finland's successful public education system. These austerity measures have partly been implemented due to European Commission pressure, which has urged Finland to improve its adherence to the Stability and Growth Pact and reform its labour market to improve competitiveness. On 22 July 2015, Sipilä announced his government's commitment to reducing Finnish wage costs by 5% by 2019, an internal devaluation caused by Finland's loss of the ability to devalue its currency to boost competitiveness.
Talvivaara Mining Company (also called Terrafame) has been a politically controversial business for years. In spring 2016, the Parliament gave Talvivaara Mining Company EUR144 million. Its aim was to shut down the mine later. In November 2016 the Sipilä government gave additional EUR100 million. By 11 November 2016, Talvivaara mine had been funded by state in total with over EUR800 million. The total state support was EUR200 million until end of 2014 when Talvivaara Sotkamo was bankrupt. The major share of state support have accumulated after bankruptcy. Some days after the Prime Minister approved EUR100 million funding for the mine, the company owned by Juha Sipilä's relatives (including children and uncle) received a EUR500,000 order from Talvivaara mine. According to Sipilä, the bidding competition was organized by Pöyry, whose major owners (33%) include the brothers Henrik Ehrnrooth, Georg Ehrnrooth and Carl-Gustaf Ehrnrooth.
A Parliamentary Ombudsman later decided that Sipilä didn't face a conflict of interest over mine deal. In similar case according to Maija Saxlin by the Parliamentary Ombudsman investigation Gallen-Kallela-Sirén was not neutral in his position related to Guggenheim Helsinki Plan and Carl-Gustaf Ehrnrooth
Juha Sipilä was part-owner in the start-up company Chempolis. According to MOT Program (YLE) in 2012, Chempolis had received 10 million euros public funds in 15 years plus extra funds from, the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA and Finnish state-owned financing company Finnvera. According to YLE TV News in 2017, majority state-owned energy company Fortum saved Chempolis from bankruptcy by investing 6 million euros into the company in October 2016. Thereafter, children of Sipilä owned 5% of the company and Fortum 34%. Sipilä had been in control of the state owned companies including Fortum since the end of 2015. The Prime Minister of Finland have not had the control of state companies previously.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä lobbied for Chempolis in India in 2016. Chempolis issued a press release on its joint venture with India's Numaligarh Refinery to build a biorefinery in North East India (Assam) for producing bioethanol following meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Finland's Prime Minister Juha Sipilä on 12-14 February 2016.
Sipilä is known for his interest in wood gas electricity generation, which began as a hobby. The cost to bring power to his summer cottage seemed too high, and he became interested in wood gas. First, he produced the electricity with wind power and with a diesel generator, but then he started building wood gas plants. He converted an old Chevrolet El Camino into "El Kamina" (Kamiina means "stove" in Finnish.) powered by wood gas, with electronic control systems. This hobby was spun off into a company, Volter Oy, which produces wood gas power plants. A 10-house ecovillage in Kempele is powered by one such power plant.
The Sipiläs are members of Rauhan Sana (transl. "Word of Peace", affiliated in North America with ALCA), a small Laestadian revivalist denomination within the state Lutheran church of Finland. The Sipiläs first met at a Laestadian summer camp as teenagers. Sipilä has stated he does not consider himself a legalistic Laestadian, and in interviews he has carefully distinguished his own Laestadian denomination from his home region's other, predominant, exclusive Laestadian group (Conservative Laestadianism). The chairman of board in Juha Sipilä's religious community was his wife's brother in 2015. According to Juha Sipilä, in 2012 he participated in the International Christian Chamber of Commerce ICCC.
(8) To restore Finland's competitiveness, the functioning of the labour market must be improved in several ways. On an aggregate level, wage increases have been moderate since the centrally agreed wage deal was agreed in late 2013. Under the agreement, the year-on-year increase in negotiated wages slowed from 1.3% in the last quarter of 2013 to 0.5 % in the fourth quarter of 2015. In June 2015, the social partners decided to extend the agreement into 2016. However, labour productivity growth has not yet recovered and therefore nominal unit labour costs are forecast to increase, albeit more slowly. Negotiations have been carried out to restore cost-competitiveness.
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