Parliament resumes for autumn session

Parliament Speaker Matti Vanhanen stresses the importance of freedom of expression - with civility - as MPs get back to work.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne sets out Finland's EU Presidency priorities to parliament, 26th June 2019 / Credit: Laura Kotila, VNK

Finland’s 200 Members of Parliament gather back in Helsinki today for the start of the autumn term.

The first plenary session begins on Wednesday afternoon at 14:00 and on the agenda are a wide range of topics including reports on the new data protection act; amending the VAT exemption for Åland; air transport agreements with Mexico and Chile; and a report about Parliament’s library.

The Speaker of Parliament Matti Vanhanen (Centre) says we’ll be seeing the impact of Finland’s EU Presidency on the work of Parliament this term.

“This will take a lot of time for the government and ministers, which will affect the autumn timetable” he told journalists on Tuesday.

With a number of MPs facing police investigations for things they’ve said in Parliament, or written on social media, Vanhanen cautions MPs about how to conduct themselves.

“Debate on freedom of expression is an important topic at this time. The debate around the world is testing the limits of freedom of expression; what is appropriate, what is civilized, and what is not. In Parliament, it must be possible to talk about all things, but without offending or stepping on others” he says.