Finland in the world press

Here is a selection of what the international press has published about Finland in the last week:

Finland went from energy shortage to negative power prices. Here’s how they did it

The decline in electricity price, causing them to reach negative values was covered in an article by Daily Wire on May 25. The article explores how Finland achieved such significant drop in power prices after the recent launch of nuclear power plant.

The article highlighted the importance of this development considering the previous concerns about energy shortages in the country, which arose due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As power generation has become abundant, discussions among energy producers are underway to implement measures that would reduce production and address the situation where electricity prices have entered negative territory.

Last month, TVO, a power company in Finland, introduced a new reactor at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant. This facility now accounts for nearly one-third of the country’s power generation. The electricity produced by the plant is sufficient to meet the energy needs of 5.2 million apartments or charge 3.6 million electric cars.

“Operators in Finland and the surrounding areas are now monitoring the situation. If hydropower can’t be regulated, then it will probably be nuclear power next. Production that is not profitable at these prices is usually removed from the market,” Jukka Ruusunen, Fingrid CEO said.

“Now there is enough electricity, and it is almost emission-free. So you can feel good about using electricity,” Ruusunen added.

Original story was published by Daily Wire on 25.05.2023 and can be found here.

Finnish debt above EU threshold as Commission gives to-do list

Finland’s public debt exceeding the 60 percent limit required under European Union law was covered in an article by Euractiv on May 26. According to a report by the EU Commission, Finland’s public debt exceeded 73% of its GDP last year. The article highlights that the country has consistently surpassed the 60% limit mandated by EU law since 2013, making it the only EU member state where debt has continued to grow.

The report, part of the 2023 EU Spring Semester package, evaluates the measures taken by member states, focusing on future prospects. The article states that Finland's debt reduction guidelines have potentially hindered the country's economic growth.

To address this issue, the report suggests several measures, including adopting a prudent fiscal policy, resolving the labor shortage problem and improving social security.

The commission also recommends discontinuing energy subsidies by the end of the year and accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

To tackle the country’s labour and talent shortage, Finland should invest in training, particularly for workers who switch careers and increase higher education opportunities in areas in demand on the labour market, the Commission said, as per the article.

Original story was published by Euractiv on 26.05.2023 and can be found here.

The Geopolitical Fallout Of Finland Joining NATO And How Russia Could Respond To It

This opinion piece about geopolitical implication of Finland joining NATO on its relations with Russia was published in Outlook on May 6. The article explores how Finland's decision to join NATO and abandon its neutral status is expected to result in a strategic encirclement from Russia.

The article also argues that while Finland anticipates assistance from NATO, this move may contribute to a new ‘security dilemma’ and potentially worsen the security situation in Europe and Eurasia in the near future. Last month, Finland became a full member of NATO, putting an end to speculations about whether it would align with the Western security organization that originated during the Cold War.

The article says that while it is a predictable geopolitical move for a European country to join NATO, concerns arise due to the timing of Finland’s admission, considering its historical neutrality even during the height of the Cold War.

It also raises pertinent questions saying that the admission of Finland is raising more apprehensions regarding whether Finland’s move will influence the future course of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war? Secondly, it asks whether Finland’s admission into this West-sponsored military bloc, will there be a confrontation between Russia and NATO?

The article elaborates on historical context of relations between Russia and Finland followed by a detailed analysis of the strategic consequences of Finland joining NATO. It also looks into India’s relations with both Russia and Finland.

The author Nalin Kumar Mohapatra is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Original story was published by Outlook on 06.05.2023 and can be found here.

Finnish firm operating in Myanmar denies maintaining ties to sanctioned entity

This article about Wärtsilä denying conducting business with sanctioned entities in Myanmar, despite leaked evidence suggesting a connection between the company and a firm associated with a military arms broker was published in Myanmar Now on May 22. The article provides details of the tenders secured by Wärtsilä in early 2022 to develop solar hybrid power stations in Myanmar’s Magway and Mandalay regions in collaboration with Chinese company Dongfang Electric International and Myanmar-based MCM Group.

The Finnish technology and manufacturing firm Wärtsilä withdrew from the partnership after it was revealed that MCM had served as an arms broker for the Myanmar military, procuring weapons and equipment from Ukraine in the previous year.

The EU had issued warnings to private companies in member states, including Finland, against engaging in business with arms brokers associated with the Myanmar junta following the 2021 coup.

Aung Hlaing Oo, the head of MCM Group, resigned from his directorship of the MCME subsidiary in December 2021, which changed its name to Malikha Energy shortly thereafter in a possible attempt to evade sanctions.

The article states that although Wärtsilä denies engaging with sanctioned entities in Myanmar but faces scrutiny following the emergence of a letter suggesting ongoing ties with the MCM Group. The letter describes equipment supply by Wärtsilä to MCM in 2022, raising questions about the company's claim of severing connections.

Original story was published by Myanmar Now on 22.05.2023 and can be found here.

Quantum scientists accurately measure power levels one trillion times lower than usual

This article about scientists in Finland developing a nanodevice capable of measuring microwave radiation at an incredibly low power level, a trillion times lower than what is typically measured, was published in Eurekalert on May 25. The article looks into the details of the device which has significant potential for advancing microwave measurements in quantum technology.

The article mentions that by improving a special type of thermometer called a bolometer, the researchers were able to enhance the accuracy of measuring heat in quantum experiments.

The study, conducted in collaboration with quantum-technology companies Bluefors and IQM, and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, was published in the Review of Scientific Instruments

We added a heater to the bolometer, so we can apply a known heater current and measure the voltage. Since we know the precise amount of power we’re putting into the heater, we can calibrate the power of the input radiation against the heater power. The result is a self-calibrating bolometer working at low temperatures, which allows us to accurately measure absolute powers at cryogenic temperatures,” Mikko Möttönen, associate professor of quantum technology at Aalto and VTT said.

Möttönen also stated that the new bolometer could improve the performance of quantum computers. The bolometer also covers a very broad range of frequencies. 

Original story was published by Eurekalert on 25.05.2023 and can be found here.