“The labour markets need professionals with the readiness to constantly learn new skills, develop along with the labour markets and contribute to developing them,” says Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education and Culture.
“The labour markets need professionals with the readiness to constantly learn new skills, develop along with the labour markets and contribute to developing them,” says Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education and Culture.

Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education and Culture, signed on Friday a decree to introduce a new qualification structure for vocational education and training in Finland, which will reduce the number of vocational qualifications from 351 to 164.

The objective of the overhaul is to improve the professional skills of graduates and enable them to respond more flexibly to the ever-changing demands of working life.

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Candles and flowers at the site of a collision that claimed the lives of two 17-year-olds in Sastamala on Saturday.
Candles and flowers at the site of a collision that claimed the lives of two 17-year-olds in Sastamala on Saturday.

A 35-year-old man held on suspicion of two manslaughters has revealed in interrogations that he sought to take his own life by crashing head-on into a vehicle on the opposite side of the road in Sastamala on Saturday.

“He says he didn’t realise that the oncoming vehicle was a light four-wheeled vehicle but [believed it to be] a larger vehicle,” a police spokesperson states in a press release published on Monday.

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The Finnish Parliament on Friday turned down a citizens’ initiative to deny same-sex couples the right to marry by a vote of 48 in favour and 120 against.
The Finnish Parliament on Friday turned down a citizens’ initiative to deny same-sex couples the right to marry by a vote of 48 in favour and 120 against.

The Finnish Parliament has turned down a citizens’ initiative designed to negate the upcoming legislative amendment extending marriage rights to same-sex couples by a vote of 48 in favour and 120 against.

Same-sex couples will thus be allowed to marry in Finland as of 1 March, 2017.

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A man residing in Central Finland is suspected of recruiting dozens of berry pickers from Thailand to work in forced labour-like conditions.
A man residing in Central Finland is suspected of recruiting dozens of berry pickers from Thailand to work in forced labour-like conditions.

A man residing in Central Finland has been charged with human trafficking in a case linked to the operations of a berry processing company, indicates a press release from the Prosecutor's Office of Central Finland.

The man is suspected of recruiting several berry pickers from Thailand to work in forced labour-like conditions or other conditions violating human dignity, according to the press release. The suspect has denied all of the criminal accusations made against him by the plaintiffs – a total of 26 Thai nationals.

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Lauri Lyly (left), the president of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), and Sture Fjäder, the chairperson of the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff (Akava), held a joint press conference in Helsinki on 28 February, 2016.
Lauri Lyly (left), the president of the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), and Sture Fjäder, the chairperson of the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff (Akava), held a joint press conference in Helsinki on 28 February, 2016.

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) has drawn the ire of a number of trade unions by announcing its decision to no longer pursue central-level bargaining agreements.

The Finnish Metalworkers’ Union (Metalliliitto) on Friday announced that it will not begin negotiations for new collective bargaining agreements until all of the agreements within its purview have been complemented with the provisions of the central-level agreements terminated by EK.

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Finland in the World Press: 11-17 February

Finland blocks foreign property deals due to invasion threat

The Finnish government plans to prevent international buyers from purchasing real estate near military sites. This comes in response to a report published last year that revealed concerns in Helsinki about the acquisition of houses near strategic locations.

A report by intelligence agency Supo warned of the risk of a foreign state “taking advantage of a crisis situation”. It goes on to state that real estate constructions could be used to “close transport routes and accommodate troops unchecked, for example”.

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Demonstrators hold anti-Brexit and anti-US President Donald Trump placards as they protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London on February 1, 2017. British MPs have approved the first stage of a bill empowering Prime Minister Theresa May to start pulling Britain out of the European Union. Ahead of the vote MPs were debating the legislation which would allow the government to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, formally beginning two years of exit negotiations.

Most British expatriates living in the European Union are concerned that Brexit will limit their automatic right to live in their country of residence, according to a new survey.

Almost 83% of respondents said that they were “very concerned” about the impact Brexit could have on their rights and benefits as an EU citizen. Less than 4% claimed to be “not at all” concerned.

More than 5000 Brits living in the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland participated in the survey, which was carried out by the European branch of the British Liberal Democrat party.

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Traffic on Tuusulanväylä in Helsinki on 17 February, 2017.
Traffic on Tuusulanväylä in Helsinki on 17 February, 2017.

Fitch Ratings has called attention to the mounting debt burden of households in Finland.

The credit rating agency reminds in its latest country review that the debt-to-income ratio of households rose to 125 per cent in the second quarter of last year – a level that represents a 20 percentage point increase from ten years ago despite remaining below the levels in other Nordics.

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Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo (left), Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö and the Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen spoke to the press as the Government unveiled its first-ever defence policy report on 16 February, 2017.
Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo (left), Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö and the Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen spoke to the press as the Government unveiled its first-ever defence policy report on 16 February, 2017.

The Government is prepared to allocate an additional 55 million euros a year to improving the capabilities of the Finnish Defence Forces as of the beginning of 2018.

The Government points out in its defence policy report that the early-warning period for military conflicts has become shorter and the threshold for resorting to military force lower. The Baltic Sea Region, it adds, has witnessed an increase in both military activity and tensions, thus affecting the military operating environment of Finland.

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Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP) was on 15 February, 2017, presented with a report detailing over 40 measures to promote educational attainment among the growing immigrant population of Finland.
Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (right) was on 15 February, 2017, presented with a report detailing over 40 measures to promote educational attainment among the growing immigrant population of Finland.

Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education and Culture, has been presented with a report detailing over 40 measures to respond to the education needs arising from the growing number of immigrants and asylum seekers in Finland.

The Ministry of Education and Culture assigned a steering group to design short and long-term measures to promote the educational attainment of young people of immigrant background in late 2015. The steering group draws in its final report particular attention to the need to improve the Finnish and Swedish skills of immigrant pupils and students.

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Two 17-year-olds lost their lives in a head-on collision on the border between Nokia and Sastamala on 18 February, 2017.
Two 17-year-olds lost their lives in a head-on collision on the border between Nokia and Sastamala on 18 February, 2017.

A criminal investigation has been opened into the road traffic accident that claimed the lives of two teenagers on the border between Nokia and Sastamala on Saturday.

The Central Finland Police Department announced yesterday that the 35-year-old man whose multi-purpose vehicle collided head-on with the light four-wheeled vehicle driven by one of the 17-year-old victims is suspected of two manslaughters, driving while seriously intoxicated and causing a serious traffic hazard.

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Over 7 per cent of the 1.1 million 25–54-year-old men in Finland are believed to be all but permanently outside the labour force.
Over 7 per cent of the 1.1 million 25–54-year-old men in Finland are all but permanently outside the labour force, according to a recent report by the Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA).

The Finnish Business and Policy Forum (EVA) has expressed its concern about the nearly 79,000 men in the prime working-age group who are not in employment, not in education and not eligible for disability pension.

“Finland is home to 78,657 prime working-age men who can be labelled as missing workers. Not much is known about the activities of these 25–54-year-old men – except that they have disappeared from the labour force, apparently permanently,” EVA states in a report published on Thursday.

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EK's decision is “an irresponsible attempt to erode the decision-making culture of Finland,” slams Ann Selin, the chairperson of Service Union United (PAM).
EK's decision is “an irresponsible attempt to erode the decision-making culture of Finland,” slams Ann Selin, the chairperson of Service Union United (PAM).

The Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) has announced that it will withdraw from central-level collective bargaining to enable its member associations to negotiate sector-specific collective agreements.

The member associations will continue to honour the current central-level agreements until their expiry, according to a press release from EK.

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