EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator In Helsinki
The EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit is in Helsinki today. Michel Barnier is responsible for the EU’s side of complex negotiations to untangle Britain from the 28 nation block. Today, the Brussels bureaucrat will meet with Prime Minister Sipilä (Centre), President Niinistö, Finance Minister Orpo (NCP) and Europe Minister Samp Terho (Blue). Barnier will also meet with parliament’s Grand Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Economic Committee to discuss how the negotiations with the British government are going. In less than a year, Britain will be out of the EU, although there is likely to be a lengthy adjustment period after that to get used to new rules and regulations.
Helsinki Rebels Against Government’s SOTE Reform Plan
At a specially-convened meeting on Wednesday evening, Helsinki City Council rebelled against the governments plans to reform health and social services – known as SOTE. The City Council voted that the reform which is in front of MPs in parliament should not be passed in its current form. The cross-party opposition in Helsinki to the SOTE reforms is significant because it is being lead by Mayor Jan Vapaavuori, whose National Coalition Party in parliament has been the main champion of the reform package. Helsinki council says that SOTE reform’s goal of streamlining health services, giving equal access to healthcare, and curbing costs will not be met, in their opinion; and that the reforms would undermine the city’s tax revenue growth and investment capabilities and increase Helsinki’s dependence on government funding.
New Booze Restrictions From Russia To FInland
New restrictions mean that Russian visitors to Finland can’t bring more than five liters of alcohol over the border with them. Karjalainen newspaper reports that the new Russian restrictions came into force a week ago. An earlier five-liter rule was only valid if you went to Finland from Russia. According to customs officials, the Russian rule is now in force at the Russian border and applies to all citizens of all countries. The rule is personal, so for example, two adults are allowed to bring ten liters of alcohol.
Thursday Morning Weather: Driving Conditions Warning
There’s warnings over dangerous driving conditions in east, central and northern parts of the country today due to snow and ice. The Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI issued a warning about potentially treacherous conditions in North Savo, North Karelia, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and Lapland. In east and west parts of the country, the temperature rises to between +4C and +8C which means some more of the ice and snow is going to start melting. There’s some snow forecast in the north but it’s mainly a foggy start to Thursday morning.