Summit Announcement Due Today
An announcement is due today about whether US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be coming to Helsinki for a summit in July. Yesterday, Trump told reporters the meeting would be taking place in either Helsinki or the Austrian capital Vienna. It comes after top officials from both countries have met to hammer out the details of a summit, what would be on the agenda, and a press conference between the two leaders. Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö has said the country is ready to host such a meeting if asked. The timing would likely fall after a NATO summit in Brussels that Trump and Niinistö would attend; after a Trump visit to the UK; and before the World Cup final in Russia. The best estimate is that Saturday 14th July is the likely date of any summit.
Sipilä Attends EU Council Meetings; Defence Minister To London Talks
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) is in Brussels attending European Council meetings today; and a Brexit summit tomorrow. On the agenda for today’s talks are migration, security and defence, and economic growth in the 28-member block. Meanwhile Defence Minister Jussi Sipilä (Blue) is in London today to celebrate a new “Joint Expeditionary Force” that Finland is part of. The British-lead military pace includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, and and aims to provide support to the development and maintenance of military capabilities, as well as deepening defence cooperation between members.
Former PM Katainen To Quit Politics
Former Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen is to quit politics. He currently works in Brussels as a European Commission Vice President, but says he doesn’t plan to run for the top job of President when it becomes vacant next year. Instead, Katainen (NCP) has decided to leave politics and “try something else”. It clears the way for his former Kokoomus colleague (and former 1-year Prime Minister) Alex Stubb to become the European People’s Party’s candidate for the Commission President job. Stubb says he will make a decision after the summer but with his keen sense of self-promotion, it’s thought he wouldn’t turn down the chance.
Taxi Drivers Face Uncertain Future
Finnish taxi drivers say they are worried about their future when new regulations come into play on Sunday. A new transport act will lift a cap on the number of taxi licenses that are available, meaning companies like Uber can legally enter the Finnish market. Some taxi drivers say this will lead to a flood of taxis on the street, falling prices, and make it less certain that they can earn a living in future. You can read more about this at our original story here.
Thursday Morning Weather
It’s a bright, sunny and hot start to Thursday morning for everywhere in Finland south of Vaasa. Temperatures are already at +20C in some parts of the eastern border region, and +19C in inland southern parts of the country. But it’s a different story in northern areas. Expect cloud cover increasing the further north you travel, with rain forecast for Kemi and temperatures in Lapland dipping down to single digits: +8C in the far north at the beginning of Thursday.