Morning headlines: Monday 1st July 2019

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Finland takes over EU Presidency 

Finland has assumed the rotating six-month presidency of the European Council. It comes as EU leaders including Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) are meeting in Brussels on Monday morning to try and resolve an impasse over who to pick for the top EU jobs including Commission President, EU Parliament President, de facto EU Foreign Minister and head of the Central European Bank. One of the names frequently mentioned in connection with that job is Finn Erkki Liikanen. EU Commissioners and current leaders will be meeting in Helsinki with the Finnish government on Thursday and Friday.

Climate campaign holds Helsinki rally

The Ilmastoveivi climate campaign comes to an end today with a rally in Helsinki’s Kansalaistori this afternoon. The campaign collected more than 63,000 signatures during the first half of this year calling on EU governments to commit to limit global warming to 1.5C and to agree on more ambitious climate change targets during Finland’s EU Presidency. Ilmastoveivi organisers will later hand over the petition to the Finnish government. Among the acts performing at Monday’s event, which starts at 15:00, are Darude and Eva+Manu.

Estonia alcohol tax drop impacts prices for Finnish shoppers

A 25% reduction in excise duty on many alcohol products comes into force in Estonia today, and it means immediately lower prices for Finns buying booze on the other side of the Baltic. The new Estonian government decided to drop the tax on beer, cider, long drinks and spirits – but not for wine or sparkling wine. For example, a case of beer will be about €2 cheaper from today. The tax drop corrects a previous tax increase in 2017 which was considered to have had a negative impact on the Estonian economy, with a surge in people going to Latvia to buy much cheaper alcohol there, at the expense of the domestic market.

Defence Minister visits Stockholm, Tallinn for talks 

Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen (Centre) is making a two-capital swing today on his first official overseas visit. This morning in Stockholm, Kaikkonen will meet his Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist for talks on defence cooperation and international training. Hultqvist forged a particularly close working relationship with the previous Finnish Defence Minister, and Kaikkonen will be keen to continue that trend. Then in the afternoon he’ll be in Tallinn to meet with his Estonian counterpart Juri Luik to talk about regional security issues and defence cooperation.

Monday morning weather

It’s a mixed weather picture across Finland for Monday morning. While there’s sunshine in the far north east of Lapland, across much of the region expect cloud and rain. There’s patchy cloud through Central Finland as well, with the best of the sunshine this morning in the south west and Uusimaa as well. Temperatures on Monday morning range from +18C in Hanko in the south to +8C in Kilpisjärvi in the north.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 1st July 2019 / Credit: FMI