Juhana Vartiainen (NCP), the Mayor of Helsinki, was photographed during a media availability concerning the capital city’s long-standing payroll issues at Helsinki City Hall on 10 August 2022. (Kimmo Penttinen – Str / Lehtikuva)

MAYOR of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen (NCP) is under growing pressure from local decision-makers to take more responsibility for the months-long payroll disruptions at the City of Helsinki, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Heavy criticism has been levelled also at the mayor’s chief of staff, Sami Sarvilinna.

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Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) talked to reporters about a newly emerged video that shows her partying with celebrities in a private residence. “I’ve danced, sung and partied, done completely legal things,” she said. (Matias Honkamaa – Str / Lehtikuva)

PRIME MINISTER Sanna Marin (SDP) on Thursday offered her first public comments about a newly emerged video consisting of several clips that show her partying with Finnish celebrities.

“I’ve danced, sung and partied, done completely legal things,” she stated to reporters at a press conference held in conjunction with the summer convention of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group in Kuopio, North Savonia, on Thursday.

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Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, spoke to reporters ahead of the opposition party’s summer convention in Mariehamn, Åland, on Tuesday, 16 August 2022. Helsingin Sanomat’s new poll indicates that the party would win 23 per cent of the vote if the parliamentary elections were held today. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE NATIONAL COALITION sits at the top of the latest opinion poll by Helsingin Sanomat.

The newspaper revealed this morning that support for the right-wing opposition party decreased by 0.9 percentage points from the previous poll to 23.0 per cent, leaving it with a 2.9-point advantage over the Social Democrats.

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A long-distance train and commuter train at Riihimäki Station on 6 July 2022. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

THE RUSSIAN INVASION of Ukraine has cast dark clouds also on a multibillion-euro railway project called Itärata in Finland, reports YLE.

The Finnish government decided last year to set up a special-purpose company to oversee the project under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, following more than a decade of planning the high-speed rail connection from Helsinki Airport via Porvoo to Kouvola.

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Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre) attended a plenary session in the Finnish Parliament on 7 July 2022. Lintilä on Saturday told STT that the government has “no tricks up its sleeve” to bring down electricity prices next winter. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT has no tricks up its sleeve for its upcoming energy-saving campaign that would enable households to reduce their electricity bills, warns Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre).

“There’s an expectation that we’ll pull out some tricks. The campaign is informative by nature. It isn’t completely clear to everyone what uses energy and how much,” he stated to STT on Saturday.

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Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centre) stood behind the rostrum in the session hall of the Finnish Parliament on 28 June 2022. Saarikko on Thursday unveiled the Ministry of Finance’s budget draft for next year. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

THE MINISTRY of Finance unveiled its budget proposal for next year on Thursday.

Helsingin Sanomat on Thursday wrote that the ministry is calling for a one-year extension to the raise in the maximum income tax deduction granted for work-related travel expenses and that the decrease in the obligation of transport fuel distributors to supply a certain percentage of biofuels.

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Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, was photographed arriving for an extraordinary meeting of the National Coalition Parliamentary Group in Helsinki on 21 June. The group convened to discuss allegations made against its now-former member, Wille Rydman. The controversy appears not to made a major dent to the popularity of the right-wing opposition party, indicates the latest opinion poll by YLE. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

THE NATIONAL COALITION may have seen a slight dip in support but remains comfortably the most popular political party in Finland.

YLE on Thursday reported that 23.4 per cent of respondents to its latest opinion poll expressed their backing to the right-wing opposition party, signalling a dip of 0.3 percentage points from the previous month.

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Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centres) reacted during the final plenary session of the spring term in the Parliament House in Helsinki on 28 June 2022. Saarikko on Wednesday conceded that significant income tax cuts may not be possible in the present economic situation, particularly if labour market organisations fail to exercise moderation on wage increases. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

THE TAXATION of wages and pensions can be lowered only if labour market organisations settle on moderate wage increases, estimates Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (Centre), reports Helsingin Sanomat.

“An income tax break is still on the table. It’s important, though, to tie its implementation to the risk of recession looking large and us being assured that labour market organisations reach rational wage deals,” she stated in conjunction with the budget negotiations of the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday.

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Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre) says the EU must stay united and show solidarity in the face of energy challenges concocted by Russia. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

MINISTER of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre) says Russian President Vladimir Putin is waging two wars – a military one against Ukraine and an energy one against the European Union.

Lintilä on Tuesday represented Finland in Brussels as energy ministers from the 27-country bloc reached an agreement on reducing the use of natural gas by 15 per cent compared to the five-year average in 2017–2022.

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People at the Vaalimaa border-crossing point in Virolahti, Eastern Finland, on 1 July 2022. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

THE LARGEST GROUPS in the Finnish Parliament would be prepared to limit the issuance of tourist visas to Russians, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Finland has continued to issue the visas as usual despite the war of aggression waged by Russia in Ukraine, unlike for example Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. With the EU prohibiting Russian aircraft from using its airspace, Finland is offering Russians a gateway to other parts of Europe.

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A man holding a syringe in Helsinki in December 2020. Proponents of drug consumption rooms believe they could reduce, for example, the amount of drug paraphernalia discarded in public. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH PARLIAMENT will debate a citizens’ initiative to trial supervised drug consumption rooms after the initiative received the requisite 50,000 statements of support on Monday, 25 July.

YLE on Monday pointed out that the criminalisation of drug use and possession has previously been regarded as an obstacle to such a trial in Finland.

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