Pia Kauma – Uusimaa National Coalition Party (EPP)

Pia Kauma. London, 2017.

Background

Member of Parliament from Uusimaa. MSc in Economics and Business Administration. Member of the City Council in Espoo.

Several years of leadership experience in the private sector. Married with four children.

”Fiscal discipline, moderate income tax rate, freedom to choose and investments in education, the environment and welfare create the basis for the future of our children.”

Jobs and income

Society should always encourage its inhabitants to work rather than be idle. Whether Finland succeeds or not depends on our hard work, on entrepreneurship and on education.

The excessive influence of trade unions needs to be fixed – we need more flexibility and dynamism in our labour markets to create new jobs and opportunities. For example, we could reform our current unemployment funds to better support individuals in finding new jobs.

Security

We as politicians need to make sure that everyone feels safe in our society.

Climate change should be tackled with balanced, effective actions in coordination with other countries.

Living a good life

Everyone should have quick access to high quality healthcare and support when the need arises.

Humanity and quality should be the values that drive our public services.

We can improve our wellbeing by taking care of our environment and by providing sporting opportunities and cultural activities for everyone.

International dimension

Finland is an integral part of the European Union and the global community. As a small country, we should actively work to uphold the rules-based international order and keep promoting Western, democratic values, such as equality and freedom of expression.

Sustainable solutions – with focus on people

If you have any questions or things on your mind – please let me know!  You can contact me at

pia.kauma@parliament.fi

Helsinki Times 15.6.2020 The coronavirus pandemic calls for re-think of what our security of supply entails

Slightly over a year has now passed since the parliamentary elections. Who would have thought last spring that discussions around the world would today be dominated by a single topic? The coronavirus epidemic and how countries are able to get back on their feet from the virus that has paralysed the entire world. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus as a global pandemic on 11 March 2020.

Many European countries appear to have now passed the peak of the pandemic’s first wave. But no one knows whether there will be a second or third wave and what the virus will look like then. Will it adapt and thereby become stronger, or weaker than in the first wave? The countries that have wanted to believe in achieving herd immunity are forced to re-think their approach because getting sick from the coronavirus may not, after all, protect you from getting sick again. There is still so much we don’t know. The entire world is holding its breath for a coronavirus vaccine or, at least, an effective medicine that can halt the progress and evolution of the virus more definitely.

According to the WHO, a total of 108 coronavirus vaccines were being developed in various parts of the world in early May. Eight of them had moved forward to human tests. Finland should take part in international vaccine development efforts, and in March it duly allocates five million euros of its budget to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI). It’s good to bear in mind that developing a vaccine typically takes at least a year and, once an effective, safe and distributable coronavirus vaccine is ready, it will fly off the shelves at what will probably be a high price. The first group of countries to get their hands on the vaccine will all but surely include those that contributed the most to its development.

Because of global demand, we should press on also with our own development projects. It is also a question of self-sufficiency and security of supply. Two vaccine development projects were underway in Finland in early May, but neither of them was listed by the WHO.

The development work requires money, and so it is good that the Academy of Finland and various foundations have opened application periods for funding for coronavirus-related research projects. Also needed is funding for clinical medical research. State research funding (VTR) has declined from 90 million to slightly over 20 million euros over the past 20 years. We have to reverse that trend.

In Finland, one of the challenges of vaccine development is that the research efforts are scattered across various parties. What we need is a broad-based group tasked with co-ordinating the efforts of universities, hospitals, basic health care, funding institutions, the pharmaceutical industry, and other private and third-sector operators. This way, our broad expertise could be better utilised.

The coronavirus has also provoked debate about the need to secure pharmaceutical self-sufficiency and the functioning of logistics chains by bringing more pharmaceutical and vaccine production from India and China to Europe. Vaccines used to be produced also in Finland, but the production was shut down as too expensive in the early 2000s. It could be worthwhile to re-start it to solidify our self-sufficiency. Whatever the case, we have to re-shape our security of supply and how we have prepared for crises in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Helsinki Times 21.1.2020: Norway’s lessons prove that our anti-terrorism laws urgently need updating

As I see it, my duty as an MP is to protect our citizens against terrorist attacks and other security-related incidents. In order to prevent terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism we need to adopt effective legislation and to approve solid budgets that empower our institutions.

An efficient way to keep our legislation up to date is by learning from nations, whose people have already been subjected to terrible and unpredicted terrorist attacks within their borders.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is the largest regional intergovernmental security organisation in the world. I am a member of the counter-terrorism committee in the OSCE’s Parliamentary Assembly. In this capacity, I had the possibility to visit Norway recently and to learn from the terrorist attack which took place on Utøya Island in July 2011.

The visit to Utøya Island was an emotional and striking experience. A man disguised as a police officer shot dead 69 young people at a summer camp of the Labour Party on the 22nd of July. Before the shooting on the island, the perpetrator had exploded a bomb in the city center of Oslo. These terrorist attacks were the worst ever in any Nordic country. As parliamentarians, we paid tribute to the victims at the memorial places both in Utøya and in Oslo and we met with the victims’ families.

In the aftermath of Utøya, Norway discovered it did not have a clear operating model for terrorist attacks. A tragedy of this magnitude had clearly been something that nobody could foresee or prepare for. The perpetrator was a born Norwegian and his violent acts were planned against the open, modern and pluralistic Norwegian way of life. This, more than anything, came as a shock to most Norwegians.

The actions of the authorities during and after the attack have been carefully evaluated afterward. The police were criticized for acting too slowly and inefficiently, whereas the health authorities were praised because they were able to save lives thanks to their effective and well-coordinated actions. A parliamentary committee was set up in order to evaluate what should be have been done differently. Nobody wanted to repeat the same mistakes in the future.

After the terrorist attacks in 2011, the Norwegian police forces have been upgraded and significant improvements in Norway’s counter-terrorism legislation have been made. In 2013, for example, the penal code was amended such that ”participation in” terrorist organisation was criminalised. This is something that has not yet been done in Finland or Sweden.

In Finland, terrorism is usually referred to as something that comes from outside Finnish borders. The Norwegian experience from Utøya, however, shows that terrorism can also be homegrown. Radicalisation is one of the major threats to our society at the moment. Therefore we must enable our authorities to take all necessary actions in order to detect, prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms. In Finland, for instance, the number of police officers per capita is significantly lower than that in Norway.

Having compared our terrorism legislation to some other western countries, I am convinced that our legislation in Finland needs to be strengthened. For this purpose, I left a law initiative in the Finnish Parliament together with one of my colleagues recently. Our goal is to amend the criminal code such that ”belonging to” or ”participation in” a terrorist organisation would be criminalised the same way as for example in Norway, Denmark, and France. The definition of a terrorist organisation would be made according to that of the United Nations’ Security Council and that of the European Union.

Extremism is gaining an increased foothold in our society. Therefore, we have to be particularly vigilant in order not to forget our common goal: to protect our people against all kinds of terrorist threats. National Coalition Party not being a governing party at the moment, I expect that our government in power make all necessary changes to the legislation as well as to our criminal justice system in order to guarantee the security of our citizens.

In the evening of the Utøya attack, the Norwegian prime minister Jan Stoltenberg said it very clearly. ”We must never give up our values. We must show that our open society can pass this test too. That the answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity. But never naivety.”

This is the message that I would like to convey to my fellow citizens also in Finland.

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