Finland, once an economic powerhouse, is grappling with a recession. The country’s economy, which previously soared on the back of the timber industry and Nokia, has been in decline for seven years. This downturn has led to an unemployment rate of 9.2%, the highest in mainland Scandinavia. The city of Oulu, once known as the ‘miracle town’ due to its thriving tech industry, has been particularly hard hit.

The economic slump has had significant political ramifications. The Centre Party, led by millionaire businessman Juha Sipilä, emerged victorious in the recent parliamentary elections, promising to slash public spending and reform labour laws. The Finns Party, known for its anti-immigration stance, also made gains, reflecting a shift in public sentiment amid the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the outgoing Prime Minister, Alexander Stubb, has been criticised for his handling of the economy. His party, the National Coalition, suffered losses in the election. Stubb’s government’s austerity measures and tax hikes failed to stimulate growth, leading to widespread dissatisfaction.

The economic decline has also impacted Finland’s relationship with the European Union. With the country’s economy shrinking, many Finns are questioning the benefits of EU membership. This sentiment has been reinforced by the Greek debt crisis, which has led to calls for Finland to exit the eurozone.

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