(09.02.2000 - Juhani Artto) Aker Finnyards is to get a seven million euro subsidy for its business deal with a Greek shipping company. Despite the reluctance of Finnish Trade and Industry minister Erkki Tuomioja, the government's economic task force decided in favour of a subsidy.

The opposite decision would have threatened hundreds of jobs in the western Finnish town of Rauma. Transport minister Olli-Pekka Heinonen - who lives in the town - and Metalworkers' Union Secretary Erik Lindfors lobbied publicly for the subsidy which amounts to eight per cent of the total value of the deal.

The European Union has allowed its Member States to subsidise their shipbuilding industries until the end of December 2000.