Parliament Resumes – Busy Spring Schedule
President Niinistö opens the spring session of parliament today. Commemorations begin with a lunchtime service at Helsinki Cathedral. Niinistö and newly elected Speaker Paula Risikko (NCP) will give remarks. MPs have a busy few months ahead with social, health and welfare reform known as SOTE expected to finally pass after years of negotiations. MPs will also look at new working life regulations aimed at boosting the employment rate; and a sensitive new law to give more powers to Finland’s intelligence agencies, among other things. As you might imagine, the government and opposition parties are expected to clash on reforms where it crosses their ideological red lines. Read more in our original story with exclusive English-language interviews with Europe Minister Sampo Terho, Left Alliance leader Li Andersson and Social Democrat MP Timo Häräkkä.
Driving Warnings & Train Delays
There’s driving warnings in place in southern Finland due to snowfall, drifting snow and icing road conditions underneath the Finnish Road Traffic Safety Agency says. Driving conditions are particularly bad in Kymenlaakso and Uusimaa. And for pedestrians, be more careful in southwest Finland and the capital city region as well, with icy pavements putting you at greater risk of slipping and falling. Meanwhile trains between Helsinki and Tikkurila are delayed this morning after an incident. HSL cautions that delays apply to both local and long distance services.
Political Shuffle On The Cards?
The National Coalition Party will have to fill at least one ministerial slot today, after Interior Minister Paula Risikko became Speaker of Parliament. The parliamentary group will meet this afternoon and decisions are expected at that time, although there’s some speculation NCP chair Petteri Orpo will take the opportunity to shuffle round his party’s ministerial roles. NCP currently has five ministerial portfolios.
Sámi National Day
Finland celebrates Sámi National Day today. It was first celebrated in 1992, and became an official fixture in Finland in 2004. The day commemorates the first Nordic Sámi parliament meeting held 101 years ago in Norway. You’ll see Sámi flags flying, and various cultural events taking place.
More Flu Shots For Hospital Workers
Increasing numbers of hospital workers are being vaccinated against influenza. Data collected by STT Finnish News Agency showed that hospital staff flu coverage has risen in the last few years. Even five years ago in Eastern Savo for example, only one third of the staff took the seasonal influenza vaccination. Now, about 70% of staff get the shot.
Tuesday Morning Weather
It’s another very cold start to the day across Finland, with snow forecast throughout the whole country according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. In the capital city region, expect temperatures down to -10°C. That drops further to -16°C in Central Finland, but it’s Lapland where the most brutal cold hits home today. While most of the region freezes between -20°C and -25°C, some parts of eastern Lapland will see the temperature drop down to -30°C.