Here are some interesting contents and guidelines from the Espoo City Council meeting on March 21st. The Council meeting began exceptionally with information on the situation in Ukraine.
Ukraine – how the cities in Finland are supporting Ukranian people?
Mayor Jukka Mäkelä informed the Council on the basic principles in reacting fast. Briefly, these are:
- Plan and act together with all large Finnish cities
- Increase effectiveness by collaborating with the Finnish Government
- Show solidarity by using Ukrainian colours and flags everywhere in the city.
- Be open for all, as stated in the Espoo Story approved last fall by the City Council: all living or working in Espoo are equally Espoo residents
- Cities have organized and will organize joint monetary and other donations. Cities support active citizens.
- The administrations of the six largest cities in Finland work closely together.
- Participated in a joint meeting of more than 300 EU cities leaders, chaired by Gdansk Mayor Aleksandra Dulkiewicz.
- In Finland, municipal emergency accommodation preparations are progressing rapidly, of which 1,500 people account for Espoo.
Welfare plan 2022-2024
The topic gaining the most debate was the approval of the Welfare Plans for the years 2022-2025: Children and Young People, the Working Age, and the Elderly.
Priorities for the period are:
- We promote inclusion and equality.
- We support the well-being of the mental health.
- We develop comfortable, safe, and activity-friendly living environments.
- We will strengthen the cooperation of various actors to support the well-being of the residents.
- We promote:
- the good daily life of children and young people,
- the ability of people of working age to work and function,
- the well-being and functioning of older people,
- integration and well-being of foreigners.
Speaking on behalf of our Coalition Party (Kokoomus) group, Mervi Katainen highlighted the following.
– This year is a turning point: in the future, there will be welfare tasks in both the municipality and the welfare area, the Western Uusimaa Region. The pandemic has significantly affected the well-being and learning of children and young people and families coping.
– The Coalition Party emphasizes the individual’s responsibility for himself or herself and those close to him or her and, of course, for their immediate environment. The city, and the welfare area, support, enable, and encourage. The city’s role after the coronavirus pandemic and the health and social services reform requires special measures.
– Remedial action is needed – we have just heard an excellent introductory presentation by our civil servants. I would also like to point out that many things are good – we want to build the coming measures on what we already have and emphasize many parallel measures to increase the quality of life.
Marika Räf (Kokoomus) spoke about the need for adults to react. As a teacher, she stressed that she notices that more and more young people are experiencing insecurity every day. War in neighboring areas in Europe has become part of everyday life.
Pauliina Ilkko-Ervasti, another teacher member of the Kokomus Group, highlighted the employees of our city who work with children and young people and their well-being.
– Many educators and teachers in Espoo are currently very exhausted in their work and working conditions. According to research, many teachers are considering switching their work to completely different field. This is a reality also in Espoo. This needs to be addressed. We need to prevent the loss of our skilled workforce.
– I appeal to Espoo as an employer. Now is the peak time to do everything possible for the working conditions and well-being of education and coaching staff.
The Council approved the proposal of the Board and in addition, approved a few wishes for action. These included the ones Mia Laiho (Kokoomus MP and Council member) proposed:
– The City Council hopes that Espoo will actively co-operate with the Welfare Region of Western Uusimaa to promote the well-being of different ages and common service chains.
– The City Council hopes that schools and secondary education institutions will co-operate smoothly and promptly with the care of pupils moving to the welfare area to ensure uninterrupted and continuous services for children and young people.
Karhusaari – the Historic Sinebrychoff Mansion by the sea south of Länsiväylä near Keilaniemi
The City Council got a report on the process of Karhusaari – good progress is going on. The working group of Pro Karhusaari, together with the representatives of the city, has considered how the functionality of Karhusaari will be further developed in extensive cooperation. The aim is to open and activate Karhusaari’s courtyard facilities and gradually develop Karhusaari into a place of urban culture, recreation, and nearby nature, offering experiences to Espoo residents while respecting Karhusaari’s unique cultural, historical, and natural values.
In addition to the Pro Karhusaari community, the events have been organized by e.g. Members of Aalto University, various art and cultural communities, and local associations.
Goals for the City Council term 2021-2025
To sum up, here are the subtitles in the Espoo Strategy, the Espoo Story. These are the focus areas of our on-going work:
- Espoo is the top city for culture and education in Finland
- Espoo provides services together with the entire Espoo community
- Espoo is economically sustainable and offers competitive taxation
- Espoo is an internationally attractive capital of entrepreneurship and innovation
- Espoo is an attractive city close to nature and a safe place to live
- Espoo will achieve carbon neutrality by 2030
- Espoo is Finland’s best city for integration
This spring is the time to define the targets and action plans of the cross-administrative development programs on the Council and Board levels. They are cooperation platforms that allow the city, together with its partners, to develop innovative solutions through experiments and pilot projects in line with the Espoo Story. External funding will be applied through national sources and EU programs to ensure effectiveness.
Chair of the Kokoomus Group in the Espoo City Council