EU Minister: Finland wants to know clearly all EU coronavirus funding liabilities
Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) will join other EU leaders in Brussels this week for a summit where they’re agreeing on a massive financial package to help the 27-nation block recover from the impact of coronavirus, a €750 billion mix of grants and loans. But Finland says more work still needs to be done on the details. “First of all it’s clear the EU needs to respond to this Covid-19 crisis. This is a huge, massive shock to our economy and we simply cannot ignore our responsibility” says Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen (SDP). “We want to make sure that all the liabilities we have are absolutely clear and we shall know what we are committing ourselves to” she tells News Now Finland ahead of a meeting with her counterparts in Brussels before EU leaders get together. Finland has traditionally been opposed to taking on collective debt on behalf of other EU countries and the PM says Finland wants to see a better balance in the overall recovery package between grants and loans. Read more at our original story here.
Otkes starts investigation into senior home fire
The Accident Investigation Board Otkes is starting an investigation today into a fire at a seniors home in Jyväskylä which saw 168 elderly people evacuated. The first broke out initially on Friday night, and then broke out again overnight between Friday night and Saturday morning after it had been contained once. Although a preliminary investigation was carried out over the weekend, Otkes says they will now launch a formal inquiry. “It is especially important to find out how and why the fire in the newer building spread so quickly” Otkes Director Veli-Pekka Nurmi writes on Twitter. Nobody was injured in the blaze and the residents have been put in temporary accommodation with relatives, in hotels, or in private senior care homes.
Finland opening up borders to more countries today
Travel restrictions between Finland and 20 countries and territories are being eased today, with people allowed to come to Finland for any reason – business or pleasure – without having to go into self-isolation. Authorities had previously opened up the borders to travelers from Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway, and to qualify to be on the new list countries had to show a level of eight cases of coronavirus per 100,000 population over the last two weeks. “We are returning gradually to normal, but there is still room for caution said Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) when the easing of border restrictions was announced last week. Restrictions remain with some countries where the coronavirus situation has not improved enough, and where there is still an elevated risk of viral introduction into Finland, including our neighbours Sweden and Russia, but also popular holiday destinations like Spain, Portugal and France, as well as the UK and USA. Restrictions are being looked at every two weeks.
Finns Party MEP likens the European Union to the Soviet Union
One of the Finns Party’s two MEPs in Brussels, Laura Huhtasaari, has likened the European Union to the Soviet Union. It’s not the first time the right-wing politician has made the comparison. In a weekend interview with a British newspaper, Huhtasaari said “I want my country back, I want to get out of the EU. I don’t want to be part of this new Soviet Union-like European Union.” Huhtasaari criticised the EU’s proposed coronavirus recovery package saying it is breaking its own rules to secure an agreement on the €750 billion deal. She also claimed Finland would be able to make its own free trade agreements if it was an “independent state” and not part of the EU – a common refrain of pro-Brexit politicians in the UK, which in reality has not been easy to achieve.
Valtteri Bottas takes second place in Austria GP
Finnish Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas has followed up his first place win in Austria last weekend, with a second place finish in Austria on Sunday. The speedster was bested only by his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton who finished on top of the podium at the Styria track. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came in third. Speaking to reporters after the race, Espoo driver Bottas said he had a good battle with Verstappen. “I had a bit more pace at the end than him. Racing so close is always good fun. it could’ve been more satisfying and I couldn’t been more satisfied but I’m looking forward to next week.” The next race is the Hungarian Grand Prix and Bottas goes into that event eight points ahead of Hamilton. The other Finnish driver in Sunday’s race Kimi Räikkönen finished in 11th place.
Summer Podkäst: Episode 2 out now
The second episode of our summer Podkäst is available now. On this week’s show Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen (SDP) talks about the EU’s coronavirus recovery plan, ahead of a crunch summit of European leaders next week in Brussels. Helsingin Sanomat journalist Paavo Teittinen is also on this week’s episode talking about his headline-grabbing investigation into slave labour conditions for many cleaners in Finland who are migrants or asylum seekers: with no job security, low pay, terrible working conditions – and the public procurement system which keeps giving contracts to their employers. And Huuhkajat men’s national team captain Tim Sparv talks about missing out on the Euro2020 tournament this year, his work promoting gender equality in football and why he feels it’s the right thing to use his platform to speak out about the issues he believes in. Listen, download, or subscribe on your favourite podcast platfor here.
Monday morning weather
It’s a fairly clear start to Monday morning across much of the country, with some pockets of showers here and there. But as the day goes on a band of rain and thunder storms will move in to many areas. Temperatures will reach a maximum of +20°C in the sunshine, but start the morning cooler than that between +10°C in Lapland and +15°C in Åland.