No NATO yet, Turkey tells Sweden and Finland
The trilateral meeting between Finland, Sweden and Turkey about the NATO membership of the former two countries was covered in an article by Politico on March 10. The article provides details of the meeting – first time since November 2022, emphasising on Turkey’s continued blockade of Helsinki and Stockholm for NATO.
Sweden considered the meeting as a step forward despite the blockade and objections raised by Turkey. “The most important thing today is that we have gathered,” Sweden’s negotiator Oscar Stenström told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Politico reported. Stenström added that the countries have agreed to further meetings.
The article also elaborates on the speculations among the alliance around Turkey’s continued blockade on the membership bid of Finland and Sweden even after the countries signed a memorandum outlining steps to address Turkish concerns on arms exports and terrorism at the alliance’s summit in Madrid last summer.
The drawn-out process is in part due to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s domestic political considerations as well as an effort to gain leverage in Ankara’s relationship with Washington, the article states.
“It is now time for all allies to conclude the ratification process and welcome Finland and Sweden as full members of the alliance ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius,” Stenström said.
Original story was published by Politico on 09.03.2023 and can be found here.
Finland starts construction of Russia border fence
The start of construction of a 200km fence across Finland's border with Russia was covered in an article by BBC on February 28. The article explores the details of the fence and its reasoning on the backdrop of Russia-Ukraine war.
The border guard told BBC that the fence will be 3 metre high fence with barbed wires on the top. The article mentions that the construction of the fence arises from an increase in Russians seeking to escape conscription to fight in Ukraine.
The article states that work on the fence at the Imatra border crossing began in February with forest clearance, while fence installation is slated to start in March.
In July 2022, the Finnish Parliament passed a bill to reform the border guard act to allow for the restriction of inbound cross-border traffic in extraordinary circumstances.
Original story was published by BBC on 28.02.2023 and can be found here.
Finland goes to the polls next month
An article about Finland’s upcoming parliamentary election in April was published by ERR news on March 9. The article draws parallel between the elections in Finland and recently held polls in Estonia.
On April 2, elections to the 200-member chamber across 13 electoral districts in Finland will be held. The article mentions the media attention garnered by Prime Minister Sanna Marin just like the Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and highlights the issues embroiling the upcoming polls including Finland’s NATO membership bid, its borders with Russia and soaring inflation and energy prices.
The Marin-led government was already in place when the Covid pandemic struck while soaring inflation and energy prices have been an issue there, the article says.
Finland uses the d'Hondt system of proportional representation, the same system used in Estonia, while a successful coalition needs at least 101 seats between participating parties, according to the article.
Original story was published by ERR news on 09.03.2023 and can be found here.
Finnair leaps into spring with boosted schedule
Finnair’s schedule for spring which is touted as the biggest since 2020 was covered in an article by AviationSource in March. The article elaborates on the carriers to recover its network and prepare for a busy summer.
Finnair will operate over 8,500 flights in March, according to data from the aviation analytics firm Cirium. The numbers will also be nearly 29% higher compared to the same period last year.
The carrier is expected to launch four new routes this spring and will serve 19 long-haul destinations this year across North America, Asia and the Middle East through its network expansion.
“It is great to see our spring schedule taking shape with the highest number of flights since February 2020,” Anssi Partanen, Finnair Market Director UK & Ireland, said.
“As we expand our network, we are also excited to welcome back destinations such as Osaka and Ljubljana, which we know will prove popular with our customers,” Partanen added.
Original story was published by AviationSource on 09.03.2023 and can be found here.
First geothermal heating plant in Finland starts operations
The start of operations for Finland’s first geothermal heating plant in Varisto, Vantaa built by QHeat for Vantaan Energia was covered in an article by ThinkGeoEnergy on March 10. The article explains the details of the plant and its aim to reduce carbon footprint.
The article states that the plant consists of three heating wells about 800 metres deep. The estimated annual energy production of the wells is 2,600 MWh which corresponds to the annual heating demand of about 130 private houses.
In recent years, Vantaan Energia has made to ensure that the heat in the heating network comes entirely from renewable energy sources, according to the article.
“Geothermal heat emissions are up to 95% lower than fossil fuels. QHeat helps to solve Vantaan Energia´s climate challenges, and at the same time QHeat also accelerates the company´s customers’ journey to carbon neutrality”, Erika Salmenvaara, Managing Director of QHeat said.
Original story was published by ThinkGeoEnergy on 10.03.2023 and can be found here.
By Sonali Telang