Rinne and his new government leaving a press conference on Thursday (Image: Lehtikuva)

MUCH OF THIS WEEK’S international coverage of Finland concerned the formation of the national government, which will be bringing the first left-wing prime minister in over 20 years into power. 

Much of the coverage from major publications concerned the progressive and ambitious policy proposals of the incoming government, as well as the fact that the majority of the cabinet is female.  

Read more ...

Late May in Almaty Kazakhstan, a crowd of international participants form 50 different countries is pouring in to the Ritz Carlton for a 3 day intellectual feast. This is the 2019 Eurasian Media Forum and the audience, at least those who have been here before, are not to be easily surprised by what the event may have to offer. The forum has been prominent and unique in hosting debates between representatives of a wide spectrum of opinion and conduct, but the panel discussion most expected this year was definitely the one opening the final day

Read more ...

An article in a British newspaper argued that the UK is in need of its own Mannerheim (Image: Lehitkuva)

A WIDELY-READ ARTICLE published this week in the British newspaper The Telegraph attracted plenty of commentary for its comparison of WW2-era Finland to the current state of politics in the United Kingdom.  

The lengthy piece, written by a prominent historian, argues that the Finnish government’s response to successive crises should serve as a role model for a post-Brexit UK, concluding that the country “needs its own General Mannerheim”.  

Read more ...

Campaign posters outside parliament on the morning after the election (image: Lehtikuva)

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE OF FINLAND this week was dominated by the results of the national election, which saw the ruling conservative coalition lose its majority, whilst the far-right Finns Party crept up to second place.  

All of the major global news outlets have offered their own analysis of the shock results, with opinions ranging from incredulity to dismay to optimism. Some outlets focused on what the results signify about the future of EU elections and the entrenchment of far-right populists on the political scene.  

Read more ...

An action shot from the recent World Hockey Championships, where Finland took first place (Image: Lehtikuva)

FINLAND CAPTURED THE ATTENTION of sports desks around the world this week following their stunning victory at the world hockey championship finals in Bratislava. Much of the focus was on how Finland managed to beat firm favourites Canada despite not having a single NHL player on their roster, something which has only happened once before in the history of the tournament.  

Read more ...

Pictured: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a recent NATO summit (Image: Lehtikuva)

A MAJOR NEWS STORY in the international press this week concerned Thursday’s announcement that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be heading to Finland to participate in the 22nd annual meeting of the Arctic Council on May 7. 

Read more ...

A Finns Party campaign poster from April 2019 which echoes tactics of American neo-Nazis and the far right (Image: Lehtikuva)

INTERNATIONAL NEWS OUTLETS THIS WEEK began to take notice of the recent surge in support for the far-right Finns Party, which has seen them go from sixth to second place in the polls, closely trailing the Social Democrats by just a few percentage points. One American broadsheet described the development as evidence that ‘Trumpism’ has finally gained a foothold in Finland, whilst also suggesting that Finn’s viewpoints on migration are divorced from reality.  

Read more ...

Deforestation in Eastern Finland (Image: Lehtikuva)

ONE WIDELY-SHARED ARTICLE in the world press this week came from a popular science magazine which revealed that despite Finland’s efforts to fight climate change, the country is actually warming up at double the global average rate. They also interviewed Finland’s former environment minister to get her thoughts on the looming ecological catastrophe.  

Read more ...

Contestants at the Finland Body Fitness Championships in Helsinki Last Week (Image: Lehtikuva)

ONE OF THE MAJOR STORIES concerning Finland in the international press this week was the revelation that it is officially the fittest country in the world, according to the latest rankings by the World Health Organization.  

Read more ...

Members of the far-right hate group Nordic Resistance marching in Turku in August 2018 (Image: Lehtikuva)

A MAJOR STORY concerning Finland in the international press this week centered on an upcoming white nationalist conference in Turku, which will host prominent hate figures and neo-Nazis from the US, Ukraine, Sweden, and Russia. The conference, known as ‘Awakening II’, will feature speakers from across the spectrum of the growing right-wing “identitarian movement” in Europe.  

Read more ...

Elderly people in Helsinki (Image: Lehtikuva)

IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE ELECTIONS intense coverage has been afforded to the issues that Finland’s incoming government faces. While many publications have highlighted the falling birth rate as a major concern, this week one international outlet went as far as describing Finland as ‘Europe’s Japan’, stressing that decades of ‘stagflation’ and decline lie ahead if current trends continue. 

Read more ...

The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) is being held from April 25 to 27 in Beijing. President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech. He also chaired the whole leaders' roundtable. The theme of the Forum is "Belt and Road Cooperation, Shaping a Brighter Shared Future". The mainline is to promote the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for high-quality development. Heads of state and government from 37 countries attended the Forum.

Read more ...

Russian president Vladimir Putin with Sauli Niinistö in Savonlinna, Eastern Finland (Image: Lehtikuva)

WITH ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNING HEATING UP, the international media is beginning to focus its attention on Russia’s role in interfering with elections, and the Finnish government’s defensive response. Russia has faced allegations of using an army of “trolls” and bots to spread misinformation about electoral candidates across Europe, as part of an effort to swing public opinion toward more right-wing, pro-Russian parties.

Read more ...

A picture taken on May 9, 2019, shows Saudi cargo ship Bahri Yanbu waiting in the port of Le Havre. - French President defended his country's arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on May 9, 2019 as campaigners focused attention on a new shipment set to leave from the northern port of Le Havre. Human rights groups have regularly denounced France for continuing to supply the Gulf states despite allegations of war crimes and civilian deaths during their military operations in neighbouring Yemen. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

According to the EU’s reporting on arms exports, EU member states issued at least 607 licences worth over 15.8 billion euros to Saudi Arabia in 2016. The main European exporters of conventional arms to Saudi Arabia include the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria. Between 2013 and 2018, Saudi Arabia accounted for nearly half of the UK’s and a third of Belgium’s arms exports. Other countries – including Germany, the Netherlands and Norway – have started to restrict weapons sales to the Saudi and UAE-led coalition.

Read more ...

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon makes a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Brexit and a second independence referendum, at Holyrood, central Edinburgh on April 24, 2019. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

FM outlines path forward amid ‘broken status quo’.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today outlined the steps the Scottish Government will take to progress the debate on Scotland’s future in light of Brexit, and the action to be taken to protect the option for an independence referendum to be held within the current term of the Scottish Parliament.

In a parliamentary statement, the First Minister said it was time to build consensus in place of a UK Government system that clearly does not work in Scotland’s interests, and in the face of a constitutional ‘status quo which is broken’.

Read more ...

Finland topped the UN World Happiness Report for the second year running, prompting questions about what Finland does differently (Image: Lehitkuva)

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN. This week the UN’s annual World Happiness Report revealed that Finland has retained its top position as the “world’s happiest country” for the second year running, prompting several articles and opinion pieces about what Finland does differently. The US-based hipster bible Vice took a slightly different approach, uploading a YouTube video questioning whether Finns are actually happy in any emotional sense.

Read more ...

Partners