Pekka Haavisto interview: The world is a more unstable place
Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) says the world has become a more unstable place with constant fire-fighting over crisis that spring up. But, he says that on the international stage, “Finland is back.” “hopefully it means that our whole government period of foreign policy will be active, and we are seen as relevant and interesting partners by others” he say. In an interview with News Now Finland, Foreign Minister Haavisto says that Finland can have a constructive role to play as an honest broker between Russia and Ukraine, and warns Brazil that the recently signed Mercosur free trade agreement won’t be ratified by national parliaments unless baked-in promises on the environment and climate change are fully met. Read more in our original story here.
Council of Europe criticizes Finland over female officers and sex offense penalties
A new report from the Council of Europe has strongly criticized Finland for having a low number of female police officers, and while the CoE says Finland has done well providing support services for victims of domestic violence, it says there should be tougher sentences for people convicted of sex offenses. The report is a review of the Istanbul Agreement on preventing violence against women and domestic violence. Finland ratified the agreement in 2015 and this was the first time the situation in Finland had been examined by the CoE against the backdrop of the agreement’s provisions. Finland held the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of Europe until the end of May 2019.
Sámi Parliament elections begin today
Elections to elect 21 members of the Sámi Parliament begin today, and continue throughout this month. Eligible people on the Sámi electoral roll have several weeks to return their completed ballots by post, or drop them at the Sámi Parliament in Inari. However, an ongoing legal battle over who is eligible to vote overshadows the process. The Sámi Parliament believes it should have the final say on who is considered Sámi, and therefore allowed to cast a ballot, and who is not. The Finnish State has until now allowed the Supreme Administrative Court to make that judgement, a move that’s been criticised by the United Nations. The outgoing President of the Sámi Parliament Tiina Sanila-Aiko says she’s “not happy” with the situation, but efforts to delay the voting until the legal issues can be resolved have proved fruitless. Read more about the situation in our original story here.
Posti parcel delivery strike starts today
Hundreds of workers in Posti’s parcel delivery service are on strike today. The Finnish Post and Logistics Union PAU called the industrial action after Posti announced it would switch its collective labour agreement to that of a cheaper union. The current collective bargaining agreement between PAU and Posti runs out at the end of October and from 1st November Posti says it will have a deal with a different union instead. Initially 700 parcel service workers are affected, and PAU says they’re facing salary cuts of 30% on average but up to 50% in some cases. The union is worried that Posti might do the same with 10,000 other postal workers in future. The strike lasts for two days and although Posti promises to try and keep parcel deliveries running on schedule, managers concede there are already delays. Read more about the strike in our story here.
Finnish drivers 3rd, 16th at Belgium Grand Prix
There were mixed fortunes for Finnish Formula 1 drivers at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday. Valtteri Bottas, who turned 30 last week, got another podium finish with 3rd place behind Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton from Britain, and Monaco’s Charles Leclerc. Bottas was more than 12 seconds behind Leclerc in a race that was overshadowed by the death of Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert on Saturday. The other flying Finn in the race Kimi Räikkönen didn’t have such a stellar day, finishing in 16th place. Earlier in the race Räikkönen’s Alfa Romeo collided with Max Verstappen‘s Red Bull and sent the Dutchman crashing out of the race. The Iceman had some colourful language to describe the incident, telling his support team on the radio “some f**king idiot hit me completely, f**king dicks.”
Monday morning weather
After a few weeks of extended summer weather, things become more unstable this week with rain for many parts of the country in the coming days and cooler temperatures. Monday morning starts out variable, with rain around Kilpisjärvi in the far north west of Lapland, down through Kemi and also in Rauma where temperatures hover around +15°C this morning. The best of the sunshine is from Tampere and Pirkanmaa up into Central Finland with temperatures around +16C. There’s sunshine with a bit of cloud cover in the capital city and Turku and the south west.