Estonian rush unlikely
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen does not believe that there will be any big Estonian rush to the Finnish labour market after Estonia becomes an EU member. Lipponen referred to an earlier Gallup poll (see Finnish news from 2 September), which estimated that some 400,000 Estonians would be eager to work in Finland when Estonia becomes an EU member. Lipponen said that a willingness to move abroad for better wages diminishes when the standard of living rises in one's own country.
Eduskunta members will in the future fly Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Germany's Lufthansa for all official trips. This has sparked some discussion, because in the past the Eduskunta has used Finland's own Finnair. The reason for the change of airline from domestic to foreign is said to be the lower prices.
Health and old age
The government gave its answer to an opposition interpolation concerning health care for the elderly. Health and Social Services Minister Osmo Soininvaara stressed that it is the local authorities' responsibility to take care of public health. The interpolation should have been made in every municipal council and not in the Parliament, Soininvaara said. The opposition was not satisfied and replied that the government is only passing the responsibility on. A government confidence vote will take place on Friday.
Plenty of research
The Finnish Academy, Suomen Akatemia, says that Finland is among the top four countries in the world in research productivity, relative to its population and wealth. Last year, Finns wrote one per cent of all scientific publications in the world, says the Academy. It also estimates that the quality of research has risen.
Credit classification: AA+
Standard and Poor's (S&P), a US company that evaluates credit validity, confirmed Finland's classification as AA+. The Ministry of Finance had, however, wished that S&P would give Finland the highest mark, which is AAA. Two other evaluation companies, Moody's of the US and Fitch of Britain, have already given Finland the highest mark. These classifications have a direct impact on interest rates on state debts.
On EU enlargement
According to the weekly magazine Suomen Kuvalehti, almost half of Finns would like to have a referendum on EU enlargement. Younger generations and supporters of the Keskusta (Centre Party), in particular, support the idea of a referendum. Members of Vihreät (Greens) and entrepreneurs have more confidence in the decision-makers and are not too eager to have a referendum.
Police to fight drugs
The police will get more resources to fight the growing drug problem. There will be, for instance, more policemen, prosecutors and education programs. There will also be greater effort put forth on the streets on a daily basis. Most of these new resources will concetrate on the Helsinki region and southern Finland.
OAJ, the trade organisation for teachers, is afraid that the quality of teaching will decrease in the near future. According to OAJ, competent teachers will more often seek new jobs and their replacements will not be competent. The chairman of OAJ, Erkki Kangasniemi, says that the present quality of teaching is, nevertheless, very good.
More islanders needed
The Åland Islands (Ahvenanmaa) need 300 new inhabitants every year to make sure that the development of this island province will be secured, estimates chairman of the provincial government, Roger Nordlund. He says that a sufficient population is needed so that the archipelago stays vital.
Archbishop on racism
Archbishop Jukka Paarma said that it is not just the police who should prevent racism and that homes, schools and the media have a role to play. Paarma pointed out that immigrants themselves should also take responsibility for building a multicultural society.
The cold and rainy weather kept ozone quantities exceptionally low during the past summer. In some places the measured quantity was at an all-time low. Ozone levels have been measured since 1986.
And in other news
- Twelve Roma sought asylum at Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport last week. Three were citizens of Slovakia and nine were citizens the Czech Republic.
- According to Tilastokeskus (Statistics Finland), 39 people were killed and 835 injured in traffic accidents during August. Altogether, between January and August, 248 persons were killed and 5455 were injured on Finnish roads.
- Approximately 70 per cent of grocery stores kept their doors open on Sundays during the summer. That is a five per cent increase from last year.
Aleksi Vakkuri, 6 October 2000
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Yle Ykkönen, Radio Suomi