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Finance Minister Petteri Orpo (left) and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä at a plenary session on Monday, 19 June 2017. The Finnish Prime Minister survived a confidence vote this Tuesday, with MPs backing him 104 to 85.

 

With the dust still setting on a hectic two weeks in Finnish politics, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä will have been relieved to receive a vote of confidence in Parliament on Tuesday. As reported by Reuters, the government may also have to be wary of members of the upstart Blue Reform taking Ritva Elomaa’s lead and rejoining the Finns Party.

Finland’s trial of a universal basic income was another talking point in the world press, with features appearing this week in The Independent and The Economist. Other stories focus on developments in Finnish education and an ill-advised trip across the Russian border by a group of British orienteerers.

Sipilä survives confidence vote after his coalition shrinks
Bloomberg

“Finland’s government survived a confidence vote held on Tuesday, capping a week of political brinkmanship rarely seen in a Nordic nation.

The parliament voted 104 to 85 to back the government, with 10 lawmakers absent and none abstaining. The result means Prime Minister Juha Sipilä can push ahead with unpopular economic reforms targeting key welfare services and the labour market.

The vote follows an unusual week of political drama in Finland. Sipilä narrowly avoided losing his majority last week after a coalition partner, the anti-immigration Finns party, elected as its leader a man convicted for his diatribes against Islam. The move was more than the Prime Minister and his other coalition partner could stomach. They ended their collaboration with the Finns, and prepared to step down.”

Original article was published by on 20/06/2017 and can be found here.

Lawmaker rejoins Finns Party, narrows government majority
Reuters

“A lawmaker quit Finland's government to rejoin the nationalist Finns on Thursday, and the party leader called on other politicians who had been "swindled" into joining the coalition to follow her lead.

But lawmaker Ritva Elomaa on Thursday left the new group and rejoined the Finns Party, saying she had made a hasty decision.

"I hope her example encourages other parliamentarians, who might have been swindled, to reconsider the situation", Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho told reporters in parliament.”

Original article was published by on 22/06/2017 and can be found here.

Universal basic income leads to less stress and greater incentive to work
The Independent

“Finland has been giving 2,000 of its citizens an unconditional income for the last five months and some are already seeing the benefits, reporting decreased stress, greater incentives to find work and more time to pursue business ideas.

Juha Jarvinen, an unemployed young father in a village near Jurva, western Finland, was picked at random to receive the payment, starting in January this year. He told the Economist that, unlike when he was receiving standard unemployment payments, he is now actively seeking work.

He had previously been offered a few part-time positions but taking them would make no sense, since it would jeopardise his welfare payments. “It is crazy, so no one will take a bit of work,” he said.””

Original article was published by on 22/06/2017 and can be found here.

Finland leads the way in progressive education
The Star

“It seems like your average classroom, until a head pops up from behind the stationery station in the corner. With a glare – understandably put out that her happy reading is being interrupted – the young pupil returns to her book in her private pad.

Welcome to school in Finland. Even by Finnish standards, this particular school – the Lauttasaari Primary School in Helsinki – is considered cutting edge, but other schools around the Nordic country are fast catching up with their own alternative learning spaces.

Finland is among the first nations to include in its national education guidelines an explicit requirement for schools to rethink not only how and why students learn but also where.”

Original article was published by on 18/06/2017 and can be found here.

Brits held in Finland after crossing Russian border to drink beer
The Guardian

“Four British tourists who were detained in Finland after illegally crossing the border into Russia to knock back a few beers are expected to face charges.

The unidentified men, who had been competing in an orienteering event in south-east Finland, were driving back to the nearby town of Joensuu when they decided to take a 46-mile (75km) detour to the border, state broadcaster Yle reported.

The men, who have been allowed to return to Britain, parked their car by the side of the road and made their way on foot across the Finnish border zone and into Russia, where they celebrated their achievement with a beer or two.”

Original article was published by on 20/06/2017 and can be found here.

Dan Anderson – HT

Photo: Lehtikuva / Antti Aimo-Koivisto

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