Nordic Council Begins Today
The 69th session of the Nordic Council gets underway at parliament in Helsinki today. The event brings together Prime Ministers, parliamentarians and policy experts from Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Åland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands for discussions. Items on the agenda include launching a Nordic-wide electronic ID; Nordic energy policies and coordinating efforts to mediate international crises. They’ll also discuss whether to make Finnish and Icelandic official working languages of the various Nordic Council meetings. At present, only Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are used. A recent vote to include Finnish was rejected by the Chairperson, who is from Åland.
Deadly Early Morning Crash
A young man is dead after his car went off the road early this morning. It happened around 06:00 east of Helsinki on the way to Porvoo. Officials say the car drifted off the road and hit a lamppost and some trees. The man was already dead when rescue services arrived at the scene. The road had a 60km speed limit and driving conditions were said to be good this morning at the time of the crash.
Helsinki Bishop’s Last Day
Helsinki gets a new bishop today. Irja Askola retires and will spend the day in different churches in the capital meeting citizens, and have a dinner at the cathedral this evening. The new bishop Teemu Laajasalo will begin his duties on Wednesday, and be ordained before the end of the year.
EU’s Justice Commissioner
The EU’s Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova is in Helsinki today, and will tell a seminar that she would hold back EU funding from countries that move beyond the boundaries of the rule of law. EU countries are preparing for negotiations on a new budget framework, which is why Jourova will tell the Helsinki audience that now is a good time to discuss such changes. The Commission and many EU countries have concerns about reforms to the Polish legal system because of issues like political appointments of judges. The Commission – and Finland – oppose the Polish argument that rule of law is an internal matter. They say cross-border business and movement of people must be able to rely on the fact the they will always receive fair treatment within the justice system, no matter which EU country they are in.
Tuesday Morning Weather
It’s a very cold start to the day in Lapland with temperatures forecast as low as -18°C in some places according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. In fact, the whole of Lapland will see Tuesday morning temperatures no warmer than -10°C. The rest of the country is warmer as you move south, and the capital city region starts the day warmest, at 0°C. There could be some light flurries of snow along the eastern border.