Debt anxiety is inflaming Finland’s close-run election battle
An article on Finland’s debt challenges in the Light of parliamentary elections was published in Bloomberg on March 31. The article explores how Finland's borrowing in recent years has become a key battleground for voters who are more concerned about fiscal matters than their European peers.
Nordic eurozone member, Finland's election highlights their long-standing fiscal prudence, a reason why they've been strict in EU talks on debt rule relaxation. “The government bond market has a long memory and the only proper way to be in this market is to aim for a long-term commitment,” Teppo Koivisto, director of finance at Treasury Finland, told Bloomberg in an Interview. “And this is exactly what we try to do in Finland.”
The article mentions that Koivisto, who is in charge of marketing the country’s bonds, says its past record in honoring debts still features from time to time in discussions with international investors.
Although the treasury insists there has not been any significant changes in Investor behaviour from the recent worsening of Finland’s public finances, their sustainability and medium-term growth prospects are “key issues in the future.”
Original story was published by Bloomberg on 31.03.2023 and can be found here.
Finland is less progressive than it seems
The debate around Finland’s indigenous issues ahead of parliamentary elections was covered in an article by Foreign Policy on March 30. The indigenous Sámi people, with around 80,000 in Arctic Europe, have a constitutionally recognized assembly called the Sámi Parliament in Finland. The article extensively talks about the lack of reforms to Sámi Parliament in the recent years.
The article highlights that the issue had become a central concern of Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who called updates to the Sámi Parliament Act “one of the most important human rights issues facing Finland.”
It elaborates that the reforms have become the center of a vicious culture war, pitting the tiny Sámi Indigenous community and its allies against the forces of Finland’s rural and reactionary right. The draft bill pushed by Marin for the reform was defeated by political maneuvers from her coalition partners and critics within her own party.
The article notes that this is seen as an escalation of a long-simmering conflict that may come to dominate the agenda of Finland’s next government.
Original story was published by Foreign Policy on 30.03.2023 and can be found here.
Religion is still on trial in Finland
An article about Päivi Räsänen facing free speech trial was published in National Review on March 30. It looks into the expression of free speech in the context of cancel culture and criminal censorship.
It states that that Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen looks forward to her upcoming acquittal anniversary on March 30, despite facing a second trial over a controversial Bible tweet due to the state prosecutor's censorship campaign.
Giving background of the case the article states that In 2019, Päivi took to Twitter to express concern that her church was hosting a Pride parade. In her tweet, she referenced the Bible. “For this, she was charged with “hate speech,” tried under Finnish criminal law and unanimously acquitted on March 30, 2022,” the article reads. However the state prosecutor appealed and Päivi will be back in court this summer.
Original story was published by National Review on 30.03.2023 and can be found here.
Elisa to shut down 3G in Finland during 2023 in phases
Elisa’s plans to shut down 3G services in Finland was published in Telecom Talk on March 30. The article provides details into Elisa’s decision to close older network technologies as they move towards newer technologies like 4G and 5G.
It states that Elisa will phase out its 3G Network throughout Finland in 2023, reusing frequencies for 4G. Most corporate customers won't be affected, but devices using 3G will switch to slower 2G speeds.
Elisa recommends upgrading to devices that support 4G or 5G for better data transfer rates. “According to Elisa, 99% of the population of Finland already live within the Elisa 4G network coverage areas. Furthermore, Elisa 4G Network is constantly expanding, and so is the case with Elisa 5G Network,” the article reads.
It added that regarding the 2G Network, the telco has not decided yet about its closure but it would take the degree of utilisation of the 2G Network into account before the closure.
Original story was published by Telecom Talk on 30.03.2023 and can be found here.
Finland pledges $21.8m to support Palestine refugees
Finland’s pledge of $21.8 million to support Palestine refugees was published in an article in Middle East Monitor on March 31. The article mentions the pledge is a part of three-year funding agreement with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
The parties have renewed their cooperation with a multi-year agreement (MYA) from 2023 to 2026. In the previous MYA from 2019 to 2022, the agency received an annual €5 million ($5.4 million) donation. The article highlights that despite some countries reducing or not increasing their grants, this renewal is a positive sign of continued support for the agency’s humanitarian operations.
Paivi Peltokoski, ambassador from the Representative Office of Finland in Ramallah, said: "Finland highly values the indispensable work of UNRWA with Palestine refugees, including in providing basic services, for example in education and healthcare."
"Finland is a long-standing and stable supporter of UNRWA. More than ever, UNRWA needs adequate funds, political support and sustainability to fulfil its core mandate." Paivi added.
Original story was published by Middle East Monitor on 31.03.2023 and can be found here.