Morning headlines: Thursday 23rd July 2020

News Now Finland morning news headlines and weather first, every weekday at 09:00.

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Prime Minister interview: Talking tough in Brussels brings green rewards

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) says her job in Brussels was to “defend Finnish perspectives and goals” in protracted – and at times fractious – negotiations over a €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund. “It was tough for our goals when it came to the whole package, but I was constructive. I tried to find ground where we could all agree and compromise together” she tells News Now Finland in an exclusive English-language interview. The early reviews of Marin’s performance from the Finnish press were initially critical, but after a few days a more nuanced picture of where Finland ended up is starting to emerge. Marin says her government will use Finland’s €3.2 billion slice of the recovery fund money to boost green economy jobs, digitization, and spend in areas of education, research and new technologies. Read more at our original story here.

Finns Party to discuss their opposition to EU budgets

The Finns Party’s Parliamentary group will be meeting today to discuss their opposition to the new EU budget deals on a coronavirus recovery package and multi-year financing today. They’re the largest opposition group in parliament, and group leader Ville Tavio says he doesn’t accept the government’s handling of negotiations calling them “seriously harmful to Finland.” Tavio can’t bring a motion of no confidence in the government as parliament is currently on summer recess, but the budget deals will be debated and voted on when MPs return to the chamber in September. Meanwhile Finns Party MP Sebastian Tynkkynen has filed a complaint with the Chancellor of Justice about Prime Minister Sanna Marin, saying she “walked over” the Constitutional Committee. “Sanna Marin will not be able to bow to the EU and send billions of euros belonging to Finns to irresponsible countries without consequences” the Oulu MP writes.

‘Light’ traffic deaths down since the beginning of the year

Since the beginning of the year 11 pedestrians and 11 cyclists have been killed on Finnish roads in so-called ‘light’ traffic accidents. According to preliminary data from Statistics Finland released on Thursday morning that number is down sharply from even just the year before when 15 pedestrians and 21 cyclists died in traffic accidents at this point in the year; while in 2005 the figure was 45 pedestrians and 43 cyclists. Motor vehicles are shown to be the biggest threat to pedestrians and cyclists on Finland’s roads.

Kesko Group reports record profits 

Finnish retail giant Kesko Group reports that food and hardware were two of the drivers of growth profits this spring during the coronavirus crisis. Those sectors helped Kesko’s net sales to reach almost €2.9 billion in the second quarter from April to June, an increase of 2.2% from the year before. The results are the best in the group’s history. “Kesko’s sales were strong in the grocery trade and construction and building services trade, but decreased in the car trade” says Kesko CEO Mikko Helander in an earnings statement. Last week Kesko announced that sales had increased by 12.6% in June alone.

Thursday morning weather

It’s another unsettled day for weather across the whole country, with a low pressure system bringing blustery winds in many coastal areas, and some persistent rain in many places too. There’s a chance of thunderstorms in the north and east as well during the day. Temperatures range from +9°C in northwest Lapland to +17°C in Kemi, +15°C in Oulu, +14°C in Vaasa, +13°C through central areas, +14°C down the eastern border, +12°C in the inland south, +14°C for Turku and the southwest, and +15°C in the capital city region.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 23rd July 2020 / Credit: FMI