Prime Minister Sanna Marin (sd), Minister of Labor Tuula Haatainen (sd) and Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (center) visited Naantali on Friday evening.
The ministers met with representatives of Neste's refinery, its employees and the city.
The reason for the ministers' visit is that Neste announced on Monday that it might close the Naantali refinery completely.
The decision was a real shock to the city, as Neste employs about 330 people in Naantali and is the city's largest employer in the industrial sector.
At the end of the ministers' visit, a press conference was held at Naantali City Hall.
Prime Minister Marin began the event by stating that the state will support Naantali in a difficult situation.
According to the Prime Minister, the government reviewed not only the situation in Jämsä and Naantali, but also other similar situations that may arise later in the autumn.
The government has decided to take an active role in the situations.
- We cannot anticipate these situations.
We don’t want unfortunate news, but we can’t avoid it altogether.
According to Marin, decisions will be made in the supplementary budget for Naantali.
According to him, financial assistance could be obtained from the EU Recovery Instrument and the Fair Transition Fund.
The fund is designed to bring relief to situations where there is a shift from fossil production to greener.
Minister of Labor Haatainen emphasized that finding out the situation and supporting the region will not be left to funding.
- People must be able to trust that we will do everything we can to ensure that everyone who is now under threat of unemployment can find a new job immediately, Haatainen summed up.
Minister of Economic Affairs Lintilä said that the ministry will appoint a liquidator to map the region's opportunities and connect the ministry's and industry's networks so that new opportunities would arise in the region.
According to Lintilä, the person will be elected as soon as possible.
He added that some possible name is already in mind.
- We need a person with an industrial vision, industrial contacts, opportunities to create something new for this situation.
Preferably a person with a soul and heart towards both Naantali and Southwest Finland.
Someone who would bring concrete to this situation, the minister described.
Naantali Mayor Jouni Mutanen stated that he emphasized to the ministers that Neste's decision has a very significant impact not only on the livelihood of families and employees, but also on the well-being of the city and the entire region.
Representatives of neighboring cities also took part in the discussions.
"It is absolutely essential that the toolkit makes full use of all available means to alleviate the situation of workers and families and to support employment and retraining," Mutanen said.
What is it about?
Neste is studying the closure of the Naantali refinery operations and the concentration of operations in Naantali on terminal and port operations, as well as the development of the Porvoo refinery towards the processing of renewable and recycled raw materials.
Neste has decided to start co-operation negotiations in the Petroleum Products business unit and its support functions in Finland.
If implemented, the plans will mean a maximum of 470 job losses, including possible outsourcing.
With the measures, the company aims to achieve annual savings in fixed costs of approximately EUR 50 million.
The company justified the decision on the grounds that it did not make sense for the refinery to make further investments due to a faster-than-expected change in the energy sector.
The Prime Minister paid a similar visit to Jämsä some time ago when UPM announced its intention to close its paper mill in Kaipola.