Nordics & Baltics

Politics 24-09-2021

Tech industries say Finland needs 130,000 new specialists next decade

The Technology Industries of Finland, a lobbying organisation for the technology industry representing some 1,600 companies, is warning that the acute and deteriorating shortage of skilled labour could endanger the country’s economic growth. It may also impact welfare services and...
Politics 23-09-2021

Swedish-Israeli relations warming up

After a seven-year hiatus, Sweden and Israel are on speaking terms again as the two countries may open a new chapter in their relations ahead of the Malmo International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Anti-Semitism. Strained relations between the...
Politics 23-09-2021

US, Russia hold first post-Afghanistan talks in Helsinki

US General, Mark Milley, chair of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Russian General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, held a six-hour-long meeting in Helsinki on Wednesday, in the first face-to-face meeting between them since 2019....
Politics 22-09-2021

Finland’s purchase of new fighter jets could get political

The choice between five bidders offering 64 fighter planes to replace Finland’s current Hornet fleet at a €9.4 billion price tag has become increasingly political for the government after Australia scrapped a submarine order with Paris in favour of a deal...
Politics 21-09-2021

Swedish minority government proposes generous budget

The red and green minority government of social democrats and greens has announced a budget bill for 2022, which provides another shot in the arm for the economy already seeing a strong recovery. The estimated growth for Sweden’s economy this...
Politics 20-09-2021

EU should stay away from Finnish forests

Forestry should be based on local conditions and knowhow in each member state, the Finnish government’s ministerial committee on EU affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Sanna Marin, said on Friday, highlighting that forest policy belongs to the competences of member...
Politics 17-09-2021

New Defence Report puts new focus on cyberspace and the Arctic

According to the government’s new Defence Report, Finland’s defence environment is “tense” and “difficult to predict”. Cyber and information environments and space are lifted as areas next to traditional land, sea and air. The superpower activity in the Arctic is...
Politics 16-09-2021

The Greens ready to legalise cannabis

The virtual party conference of the Greens was expected to be all about climate. But two votes can make all the difference. Somewhat unexpectedly, the party approved by a margin of 183 and 181 the initiative to decriminalise the manufacture,...
Politics 10-09-2021

Lithuanian PM: Refugee situation at Belarus border stable

Although more than 3,000 primarily Iraqi refugees flown in by the Belarus regime were in Lithuanian custody, the situation is now relatively stable, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė told journalists at the European People’s Party (EPP) congress on Thursday in...
Politics 10-09-2021

Finnish government survives internal row over emissions slashing plan

A compromise was finally reached Thursday after the Greens and the Centre Party – who are part of the five-party government and have a strong affiliation to the agriculture sector – could not agree on how to finance the country’s...
Politics 09-09-2021

Estonia fortifies its border with Russia

Estonia is constructing a new steel fence on its southeast border facing Russia, following steps other Baltic countries and Poland have already taken to ‘fortify’ their borders. In a secretive project, Estonia is close to finishing the first 23 kilometres...
Politics 08-09-2021

Finnish government launches new COVID-19 strategy to open society

The five-party government has launched a new COVID-19 hybrid strategy that aims to have all restrictions lifted once 80% of the population is fully vaccinated, the government announced on Monday. Rather than subject people to testing, tracking and going into...
Politics 07-09-2021

Norwegian newspaper challenges Russian censorship

Norwegian online newspaper Barents Observer has launched its own channel on the Telegram messaging app popular among Russians, in a bid to retain its readership there. The English and Russian-language newspaper has been targeted several times by Russian authorities since...
Politics 06-09-2021

Non NATO-member Sweden rejects EU rapid reaction force

***This article has been updated with a quote from the minister. The proposal made by EU defence ministers of a European rapid reaction force to respond quickly to crises in the wake of the Afghanistan crisis has not been welcomed...
Politics 03-09-2021

Gun violence becoming ‘new normal’ in Sweden

Stockholm was again a scene for lethal gun violence at the end of August as four separate shootings in the capital left one person dead and another seriously wounded – incidents so common the Swedish media is talking of a...
Politics 02-09-2021

Mayor: Helsinki could be an English-speaking city

Helsinki could declare itself an English-speaking city, Helsinki’s new Mayor, Juhana Vartiainen, has suggested as the country continues to debate the worsening shortage of skilled workers on the labour market which could heavily hamper the recovery from the pandemic. Immigration...
Politics 01-09-2021

Alar Karis elected Estonia’s new president

Alar Karis was elected Estonia’s president on Tuesday after receiving the required two-thirds majority in parliament during a second round of voting. The 63-year-old former rector of the Tartu University and the Estonian University of Life Sciences and a former...
Politics 01-09-2021

French infrastructure company acquires strong foothold in Northern market

French company Colas has acquired Destia, Finland’s largest infrastructure company from family-owned investment company Ahlström Capital Group for an undisclosed amount. The transaction has been hailed by both sides as a win-win arrangement as it remains to be approved by the relevant competition...
Politics 31-08-2021

Estonia needs a second ballot to elect a president

Alar Karis, the only candidate nominated in Estonia’s presidential election has failed to get the votes in the parliament needed to become the republic’s ceremonial president. In the first round of voting on Monday, Alar Karis, the director of the...
Politics 31-08-2021

Finland set to ban therapies aimed at converting gay and transgender people

A citizens’ initiative to ban sexual orientation and gender identification conversion therapy is moving forward to being considered by parliament after it gathered the needed 50,000 signatures within only a month. In all likelihood, such therapies will be prohibited and...
Politics 30-08-2021

Estonia to elect new president

Estonia on Monday is set to elect a new president to succeed Kersti Kaljulaid, who has been in office for the last five years. Presidential candidates are selected by political parties in the 101-seat parliament, Riigikogu. A candidate needs the...
Politics 30-08-2021

Finnish, German defence forces test cooperation between manned, unmanned aircraft

The Finnish and German defence administrations are together investigating the cooperation of manned and unmanned weapons systems and platforms in various situations. The first tests and flight demonstrations carried out by the two countries’ armed forces took place in the...
Europe's East 18-08-2021

Lithuania accuses Belarus of border violations

A dozen Belarusian officers in riot gear illegally crossed into Lithuanian territory on Tuesday (17 August) while pushing a group of Iraqi migrants over the border, Lithuania's border guard service said.
Politics 15-07-2021

Lithuanian MPs call for tightening Europe’s ‘too liberal’ migration rules

Two Lithuanian parliamentary committees have suggested pushing for tighter EU immigration policies, calling on Lithuania’s foreign ministry to draft proposals and initiate discussions in Brussels, BNS reported. The initiative comes in reaction to a recent spike in irregular migration to...