Merkel’s Tampere Equality Prize
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be honoured at an award ceremony in Tampere today with the International Gender Equality Prize – although she won’t be there in person to pick it up. IGEP organisers say Merkel is being recognised for her work as a role model and a strong female leader, as well we her role in speaking out about gender minority issues in Russia. But policy experts in Germany and Finland, as well as gender equality and feminist groups in both countries express surprise that Merkel would be chosen to receive the €150,000 prize – which she will give to a group or individual to help with their work. NGOs say it’s not enough that Merkel is a woman, and that she has only recently started to become more comfortable discussing gender issues. Read more about the debate at our original story here.
Finland Joins EU Finance Statement
The Finance Minister of Finland is joining ministers from seven other EU countries to publish a joint statement about the development of the European Economic and Monetary Union this morning. Among other things, the new statement emphasizes Member State’s responsibilities for their own economy. According to finance ministers, any deepening of the EMU should give real added value, and not not add far-reaching powers at a European level. Finance Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) says that from a Finnish point of view, the main problems of economic and monetary union are over-indebtedness and lack of market discipline. “The banking union needs to introduce a common deposit guarantee, but only when the the banking systems in different countries have reached the same fair starting point” Orpo tells state-funded broadcaster YLE. In addition to Finland, this morning’s statement has been signed by finance ministers from the Netherlands, Ireland, Lavia, Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark and Estonia.
Ex-Talvivaara Mining Company Files For Bankruptcy
Ahtium, formerly known as the Talvivaara Mining Company, has filed for bankruptcy this morning. In its announcement the company reports that business projects and financing negotiations have been terminated. Last week, Ahtium had warned that the days ahead were crucial to its future. Ahtium – which is entirely separate to the state-owned Terrafame mine – has been trying to find new business but they were not able to generate cash flow sufficiently quickly to cover costs. Ahtium’s biggest owner has been the state-owned investment company Solidium, which owns 7% of the company’s shares. However there are also more than 80,000 small investors who own shares in the company. With bankruptcy, those shares become worthless.
Foreign Minister Continues Ukraine Mission
Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini continues a working visit to Ukraine today, to discuss Finland’s increasing support for the country. Finland’s development cooperation money allocated to Ukraine will be €15 million over the next few years, and be used for education and energy projects. Soini is meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, as well as the Head of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and Finnish experts working there. Finland and Ukraine are celebrating 100 years of diplomatic relations this year. Just last week, the Ukrainian Defence Minister was in Finland discussing the possibilities of Finnish troops being deployed as peacekeepers in the ongoing conflict with Russia.
Finland’s Space Race
Finnish entrepreneurs, scientific researchers and the government are working to boost the country’s space industry. A new ‘space law’ which came into effect in January could help to bring all the players working on space-related projects together, and streamline financing for academic projects. The Finnish space industry spans a number of different sectors, like mobile app Space Nation which wants to send people on a flight into low orbit; and Aalto University where there is pioneering work going on to develop, build, and deploy mini-satellites. Read more about Finland’s space race in our original story here.
Tuesday Morning Weather
There are some bitterly cold temperatures forecast for Lapland on Tuesday morning according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. Temperatures range from -24°C to -31°C in the north, with some snowfall expected. Central Finland will see some sunshine to start the day, with temperatures ranging from -15°C to -23°C. There’s cloudy skies along the west coast with a chance of snow in Turku, and temperatures hovering around -9°C. While the eastern border can expect bright clear skies with sunshine and between -16°C and -24°C. The capital city region is partly cloudy on Tuesday morning with temperatures only down to -5°C.