|Prime Minister of Finland|
29 May 2015
|Preceded by||Alexander Stubb|
|Speaker of the Parliament of Finland|
28 April 2015 – 29 May 2015
|Preceded by||Eero Heinäluoma|
|Succeeded by||Maria Lohela|
|Member of the Parliament of Finland|
20 April 2011
|Born||25 April 1961
|Political party||Centre Party|
|Alma mater||University of Oulu|
Education and military service
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 has the rank of Captain in the reserves of the Finnish Defence Forces.
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.
Income of Sipilä was the highest in Finland in year 1996. 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 1990’s Finnish Centre Party elite had formed an informal coalition with National Coalition Party.
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.
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.
There have been protests against the government’s austerity measures.
Talvivaara Mining Company financing
Talvivaara Mining Company (also called Terrafame) has been a politically controversial business for years. In spring 2016, the Parliament gave Talvivaara Mining Company €144 million. Its aim was to shut down the mine later. In November 2016 the Sipilä government gave additional €100 million. By 11 November 2016, Talvivaara mine had been funded by state in total with over €800 million. The total state support was €200 million until end of 2014 when Talvivaara Sotkamo was in bankrupt. The major share of state support have accumulated after bankruptcy. Some days after the Prime Minister approved €100 million funding for the mine, the company owned by Juha Sipilä relatives (including children and uncle) received a €500,000 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.
Parliamentary Ombudsman to decide whether PM faced 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
Chempolis – Control of State Companies and state investment in family owned company
Juha Sipilä have been 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 state major owned energy company Fortum saved Chempolis from bankruptcy by investing 6 million in company in October 2016. Thereafter children of Sipilä owned 5% of the company and Fortum 34%. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä had responsibility in control of the state owned companies including Fortum since end of 2015. This was exceptional. Prime Minister of Finland have not had the control of state companies earlier.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä lobbied his children owned company 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 grew up in the small town of Puolanka, northern Finland, east of Oulu, the firstborn of four children to mother Pirkko and father Pentti Sipilä, an elementary school teacher.
In 1981, Sipilä married Minna-Maaria Juntunen at Oulu Cathedral. They have five children. Their youngest son, Tuomo (born in 1993), died on 18 February 2015.
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).
- Sipilä Cabinet