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Katainen grew up in Siilinjärvi and was a part-time teacher and he became a member of the Siilinjärvi municipal council in 1993. He graduated from Siilinjärvi Upper Secondary School. In mathematics Katainen´s grade was 6 (equal to D in United States). He was elected member of the Finnish Parliament (Eduskunta) from the district of Northern Savonia in 1999, served as the vice-chairman of his party since 2001, becoming its leader in 2004.
In 2006, he was elected Vice President of the European People’s Party (EPP) for a three-year term and was re-elected for another term in 2009.
In the 2007 parliamentary election, the National Coalition led by Katainen won the second place from the Social Democrats. Katainen became the Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in the new cabinet with Center, National Coalition, Greens, and Swedish People’s party.
In November 2008, the Financial Times named Katainen as the best finance minister in Europe. Katainen warned in 2009 that Europe’s leaders must do more to prepare voters for “exit strategies” that bring spiralling public sector debts back under control, noting that “It is always politically difficult but we simply have no choice. We will have to do very painful things in forthcoming years when the economy has started to recover.”
Prime Ministership (2011-present)
Following the parliamentary election held on April 17, 2011, Katainen was elected Prime Minister by the new parliament and assumed office on June 22, 2011. His centre-right National Coalition Party became the largest party for the first time in the history of independent Finland. After long and difficult government-forming negotiations, he was elected Prime Minister by the Finnish Parliament, and his government of six parties (National Coalition Party, Social Democratic Party of Finland, Left Alliance (Finland), Green League, Swedish People’s Party of Finland and Christian Democrats (Finland) ) was formally appointed by President Tarja Halonen on June 22, 2011.
In October 2012, it was reported that security personnel had stopped a knife-wielding assailant from attacking Katainen. Katainen was in the southwestern city of Turku, campaigning at the time of the incident. The man in question was later fined for wielding a knife in the public, but according to the police he did not intend to harm Katainen.
According to the negotiations led by Jyrki Katainen Finland’s EU membership fees will rise from €466 million per year to €657 million per year in 2014-2020. Katainen was satisfied with the negotiating result that was according to his targets. According to EU Commission Finland pays €645 million a year. According to Alexander Stubb Finland pays €520 million a year. Foreign ministry and Katainen used equal figures as Stubb. Sweden and Denmark negotiated smaller increase in payments.
Katainen arranged €700,000 state research funding to philosopher Pekka Himanen, a friend of Katainen, without inviting other bids for the research project. Many were critical of the practice, and the funding was brought under investigation. While the Constitutional Law Committee of the Finnish Parliament did not find Katainen’s actions to be illegal, the Finnish Chancellor of Justice found that choosing Himanen for the project without inviting other bids did violate the principles of transparent governance. Chancellor of Justice says that the controversial 700,000-euro report commissioned by Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen did not conform to the principles of good governance. The Parliament – where the Katainen coalition enjoys a majority decided not to press charges against the PM over the case.  The report was expensive compared to publicly written alternatives. For the sake of equality all parties should have equal funding to publish their political recommendations for the vision of future.
Katainen states that “the values that guide the direction of my political thinking are: liberty, equality of opportunities, education, encouragement, tolerance and caring.” In 2008 Katainen supported the Vanhanen cabinet plans for tax cuts to be spread out evenly among pay earners of all income levels. Katainen has criticized ideologization of energy sources and has called for a smart green policy that is a mix of many energy sources. He supports providing affordable energy using nuclear power. Katainen has stressed that the six-party cabinet will take an active, initiative-taking foreign policy grounded in continuity. Katainen has asserted that Finland would be better off if the country welcomed work-based immigrants.
With the start of his premiership, and even before it, Katainen has strongly supported EU-co-operation and bailouts for crisis-torn European countries, primarily Greece, receiving both praise and criticism from the citizens.
Another important act on the government has been The Municipal Reform. The aim is to reduce the amount of municipalities from current 336 to about one third of it by 2015.
Jyrki Katainen decided that Finland will not join a group of eleven other European Union states that have signed up to be at the forefront of preparing a financial transaction tax in November 2012. Other government parties the Green League, the Social Democratic Party of Finland and the Left Alliance (Finland) had supporters of the tax. Katainen threatened to demand new parliament elections if other parties do not follow his will.
Jyrki Katainen was a member in the team to define energy strategy and climate policy of Finland in 2008 with Mauri Pekkarinen, Sirkka-Liisa Anttila, Tarja Cronberg, Jyri Häkämies, Paula Lehtomäki, Jan Vapaavuori and Stefan Wallin. According to this plan Jyrki Katainen supported from 2005 to 2020 the following increases: primary energy use + 13%, industry and construction electricity use +26.7 % and total electricity use +15.4 %. Greenpeace Nordic criticized the climate strategy for not to discuss the carbon dioxide emissions. Greenpeace calculated that the government target was 4% emission decline from 1990 level to year 2020. This calculation assumes that Olkiluoto under construction nuclear plant would be in use as planned which would count annually 2,6-5 Mt CO2. Greenpeace calculated from the report the energy use emissions as 69 Mt CO2 in 2005 and target as 67,9 Mt CO2 in 2020. Coal and peat relates emissions were in 19.8 CO2 in 2005 and 23.3 CO2 in 2020. Oil related climate gas emissions declined 17% and gas 5% from 2005 to 2020. Oil related climate gas emissions were 22.4 CO2 in 2020.
He is married to Mervi Katainen, a football player, and has 2 children. Apart from his native Finnish, he speaks English, French and Swedish. He runs a marathon every year and his record is 3.54.23.