Finnish MEPs find unity opposing monthly Brussels-Strasbourg move
The European Parliament is having its monthly plenary session in Strasbourg this week, when all the politicians – including 14 Finnish MEPs and their staff – will make the trip from Brussels. It’s a controversial move that costs tens of millions of euros every year, wastes time and resources, and is increasingly recognised as environmentally unfriendly. And it’s that rare topic that unites Finnish Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum. “Although Strasbourg is a more attractive city than Brussels, Brussels is the most convenient city for the seat” says Centre Party MEP Elsi Katainen, while other politicians cited the environmental impact; the need for treaty change; a plan to support Strasbourg businesses and presentational issues as some of the justifications for reform. Read more at our original story here.
Winter storm winds close roads, disrupt shipping
A strong overnight storm has disrupted shipping, cut off electricity to thousands of homes, and impacted the Åland Islands in particular. Silja and Viking are running ferry services as normal on Monday morning although on Sunday the sea conditions were so bad the ferries didn’t stop in Åland. On Sunday a Finnlines ship heading to Kapellskär in Sweden had to return to port in Naantali due to rough conditions. By midnight 12,000 customers in Åland were without electricity and this morning there were around 11,000 customers without electricity on the mainland in Ostrobothnia and Uusikaupunki – as well as in Pirkanmaa and Central Finland. There’s a storm warning in place for many sea areas and strong winds expected during the course of Monday as well.
American jets arrive in Pirkkala for latest ‘Top Gun’ tests
Two F-35A Lightning fighter jets built by American manufacturer Lockheed-Martin have arrived at Pirkkala Air Base, to being a week of intensive testing and evaluation. The jets landed on Sunday evening, their arrival delayed by bad weather on the flight from USA to England, and then onward to Finnish air space. They’re the fourth of five aircraft types which will be coming to Finland through the end of February, as the Air Force weighs up the pros and cons of each in the process to determine which company will win the €10 billion contract to replace the country’s ageing fleet of Hornet jets.
Former Miss Finland rescued in Himalayas
A former Miss Finland is waiting in the Pakistani town of Skardu for permission to travel home, after being rescued by the Pakistani military after getting sick while trying to climb a Himalayan peak. Lotta Hintsa was suffering from flu, and one of her climbing companions had pneumonia, when they were evacuated from Broad Peak – the 12th highest mountain in the world on the border with Pakistan and China. Hintsa concedes on social media that she had been sick for weeks before attempting the climb, writing that “I was not healthy enough to have attempted the summit (coughing, chest pain, back pain, bleeding nose for 7 weeks…)” She praised the skills of the military pilots who rescued her but says she could have walked out of the mountain range unaided.
Blini menus serve up a Finnish winter take on traditional dish
The perfect blini is soft and fluffy on the inside with a crispy shell on the outside that forms when they’re fried in clarified butter in cast iron skillets. It’s easy to see why blinis have become such a restaurant staple during the early months of the year in the south of Finland – a food tradition brought by Finns who fled the parts of Karelia ceded after the war, and now quite distinct from the thin blinis found in many Russian kitchens. “I would say the classic accompaniments are smetana, the chopped red onion, pickled cucumber and honey” says Head Chef Lars Wahlman. Read more about this delicious seasonal Finnish food tradition at our original story here.
Monday morning weather
Those high wind warnings are in place in most sea areas and in coastal areas for Monday morning. It’s a relatively mild start to the week as well with plenty of precipitation around, which falls as snow in Lapland and parts of the eastern border where the temperatures dip below zero, and as rain across Central Finland, Pirkanmaa and in the south / capital city region. Temperatures range from -2°C in northwest Lapland to a high of +6°C in southern Ostrobothnia this morning.