Here is a selection of what the international press has published about Finland in the last week:
Seabed Warfare: Another Sabotage In The Baltic?
Finland investigating a potential sabotage to the Baltic Sea gas pipeline was covered in an article by Naval News on October 10.
The article explores the incident and the aftermath of the situation, where Baltic Connector suffered a pressure drop, leading to its shutdown.
Damage was found in the Finnish Exclusive Economic Zone on October 10. Additionally, an undersea data cable in the same area was cut, prompting investigations into both incidents. The damage to the Baltic Connector gas pipeline is estimated to be caused by an external actor, according to a Finnish press conference on October 10. Explosives were deemed unlikely to be involved, and the pipeline will be out of service for months.
This incident has prompted an investigation by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation, classifying it as Gross Criminal Mischief. While the Finnish gas grid remains stable due to a floating LNG terminal, it can no longer supply gas to Estonia, although Estonia maintains its connection to the Estonia-Latvia Interconnection.
The damage to the telecommunication cable is anticipated to be within the Estonian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and any criminal investigation related to it will be handled by Estonian authorities. Finnish authorities have emphasized that while the situation is serious, there is no immediate threat. They have refrained from explicitly naming Russia as the likely culprit, but they have mentioned that this kind of sabotage is challenging and requires specific assets and resources. It has been reported that the Russian Project 865-class hydrographic survey vessel Sibiryakov has been involved mapping the pipeline multiple times this year, with the most recent instance occurring a month ago. This vessel has also operated in areas related to Nord Stream sabotages.
Original story was published by Naval News on 10.10.2023 and can be found here.
Tesla Taps European Stainless Steel Producer for Long-Awaited Cybertruck
Tesla procuring stainless steel panels for its new Cybertruck from the Finnish supplier Outokumpu Oyj was covered in an article by Bloomberg News on October 11. The article give details of the procurement by Tesla and highlights how Outokumpu has adapted its production to meet the unique design requirements of the electric vehicle.
The stainless steel panels sourced from Outokumpu Oyj will be sent to Tesla’s assembly plant in Austin, representing a significant product change for Outokumpu. This Finnish company, Europe’s largest stainless steel producer, is recognized for its collaboration with automakers, particularly in the production of exhaust systems.
Tesla is potentially obtaining materials from Outokumpu’s facility in Calvert, Alabama, and there is a possibility that they might engage multiple suppliers for these materials. Outokumpu chose not to provide comments on the matter, and Tesla has not responded to requests for comments either.
The Cybertruck, although not yet in full production, has been promised by CEO Elon Musk for later this year. Its unique design featuring stainless steel panels has garnered significant attention and scrutiny. Stainless steel panels are typically a blend of steel and nickel, making them notably more expensive, up to two or three times the cost of regular steel.
Original story was published by Bloomberg News on 11.10.2023 and can be found here.
‘Dear Ursula’: EU Commission chief invited to visit Nordic forests ahead of election year
The Prime Ministers of Finland and Sweden extending an invitation to EU Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen, to visit their respective countries' forests, was covered in an article by Euractiv on October 12. The article gives details of the invitation as the countries are urging EU to avoid imposing excessive burdens on the forest sector, especially with an election year approaching.
Forests play a significant economic role in Finland, contributing to 20% of the country’s exports. In Sweden, one out of every ten people is employed in the forestry industry, making it a crucial pillar of the economy for both Nordic nations.
Prime Ministers Petteri Orpo of Finland and Ulf Kristersson of Sweden emphasized the significance of their forest industries in a letter sent to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on October 4. They highlighted that forests are of substantial economic, environmental, cultural, and social importance in their countries and are politically significant. Protecting the sector from perceived overregulation by the EU is a top political priority for both Nordic nations.
“Our forests, forestry, and its value chains face a lot of pressure from newly negotiated EU legislation on energy, climate and environment,” the two leaders wrote.
“It is important now to take some time, focus on implementation and analyze the overall impact that these policies eventually have on forests,” they added.
The implicit message is quite apparent: they are urging the EU not to further burden their forest industries. The close alliance between the Finnish and Swedish leaders was solidified in August when they met at the Swedish Prime Minister’s summer residence in Harpsund, agreeing to enhance collaboration on common interests.
Original story was published by Euractiv on 12.10.2023 and can be found here.
City Oil Field expands eco-friendly recycling tech to Finland
This article about City Oil Field planning to expand its eco-friendly recycling technology, known as “Regenerated Green Oil” (RGO), to two cities in Finland, was published in Korea Times on October 12. The article explains the technology which is at the forefront of environmental progress, reducing carbon emissions and pollutants during recycling through a non-combustible treatment method.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy has officially recognized City Oil Field, a company focused on innovative technologies for the economic and energy sectors, for this groundbreaking technology.
City Oil Field, along with officials from the Finnish cities of Espoo and Vaasa, came together in Finland on October 3 and 4 to sign a business agreement. The project’s goal is to process plastic waste from Espoo and Vaasa, known for their environmental initiatives, using RGO technology at low temperatures. This process produces renewable raw materials and renewable fuel oil. City Oil Field collaborates with the two cities, along with other key stakeholders, including Woori Technology, a company focused on technological development, and Montreal Capital Oy, a Finnish investment company.
This expansion marks the second global deployment of the technology, with a successful earlier implementation in the United Kingdom.
“With Korea’s eco-friendly technology making strides into Finland, a frontrunner in sustainable solutions, we are committed to proactively applying RGO technology to assist enterprises in bolstering their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives,” Jeong Yeong-hun, CEO of City Oil Field said.
Original story was published by Korea Times on 12.10.2023 and can be found here.
Finland faces autumn of discontent with strikes and protests over government’s austerity budget
This article about new challenges faced by Finland’s right-wing government, arising from trade unions and students due to cuts to social welfare, was published by Euronews on October 2.
The article delves into the growing discontent among workers and students, who have expressed their dissatisfaction with new government policies, which they feel are diminishing employment rights and job security.
Trade union leaders have criticized Prime Minister Petteri Orpo’s government, referring to it as a ‘reverse Robin Hood administration’ that reduces benefits for the underprivileged while providing tax cuts to the wealthy. They have also raised concerns over the new restrictions on international students wishing to remain in the country.
Prominent protests in Finland have been initiated by students who occupied Helsinki University. This movement, now in its third week, has garnered support from a thousand university staff members who signed a letter of endorsement. Organizers note that the protest has rapidly expanded to other major universities across the nation.
“We support the students’ views, and the University leadership understands the occupiers’ concerns about the livelihood of students,” Vice-Rector Kai Nordlund said in a statement.
“During the last decade the welfare support that Finnish students receive has been constantly cut, and this government is continuing that, worsening the situation for students and forcing us to take on more debt in order to study which means when we graduate we have a huge amount of debt to pay off,” Havu Laakso, one of the students occupying Helsinki University, said.
Original story was published by Euronews on 02.10.2023 and can be found here.
Finland has no private schools – and its pupils perform better than British children
This article comparing Finland’s public schools with on private education in the UK was published in inews.co.uk October 7. The article delves into the Finnish education system, which has no fee-paying schools, distinguishing it from many other countries.
In 2018, Finland was ranked seventh globally in the OECD’s student assessment chart, surpassing the UK and the United States, where both public and private education systems coexist. The debate over state versus private education has been reignited by the Labour Party’s proposal to apply VAT to private school fees. UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has accused Labour of provoking a “class war,” while the independent education sector has cautioned of potential widespread closures if the plans are implemented.
In Finland, education is free for all individuals aged six to 18, regardless of whether they attend a state-run or independently-run school. This is a policy that Finns take great pride in. The article highlights that Finnish parents do not have to make financial contributions to their children’s education, and textbooks, materials, and school meals are all provided free of charge, with the costs covered by taxpayers.
Pasi Sahlberg, a former teacher and policymaker in Finland who now serves as a professor of educational leadership at the University of Melbourne in Australia, highlights that Finland’s education system is founded on the principle that “education is considered a public service and a human right.” The system ensures “equal opportunity of access to schools and universities regardless of who students are or where they live.”
Original story was published by inews.co.uk on 07.10.2023 and can be found here.