Nordics & Baltics

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...
Politics 12-07-2021

Lithuania to spend €41m on border fence with Belarus

Lithuania will build a fence at its border with Belarus, Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė confirmed. “We think we could do that quickly enough, such a fence would cost approximately €41 million,” she told reporters on Friday. This comes in addition...
Politics 09-07-2021

Lithuania to start building barrier on border with Belarus this week, says minister

Lithuania is due to start building barbed wire fencing on the border with Belarus, Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas confirmed on Thursday (8 July). “It will be launched most probably today or tomorrow, at the latest, but, of course, this would...
Politics 08-07-2021

Lithuania expels Belarusian diplomats from Vilnius in tit-for-tat move

Lithuania’s foreign ministry has ordered the Belarusian embassy in Vilnius to cut its diplomatic staff to one in response to a similar action by the Minsk government earlier this week. The Ministry summoned the acting chargé d’affaires of the Belarusian...
Politics 06-07-2021

Lithuania: Tikhanouskaya’s team is ‘democratic representation of Belarus.’

Lithuania’s foreign ministry on Monday designated Vilnius-based Belarusian opposition figure Svetlana Tikhanouskaya and her team the democratic representation of Belarus in Lithuania. The accreditation is a symbolic step in the legal recognition of Belarusian civil society and its aspirations to...
Politics 02-07-2021

Nordic newspapers publish joint petition protesting measures to control media in Hong Kong

Four leading newspapers in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway simultaneously published a joint petition on Thursday, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, protesting the closure of the Daily Apple newspaper, and measures to control and...
Politics 01-07-2021

Moderate Party leader given chance to form new Swedish government

Sweden’s parliamentary speaker, Andreas Norlén has given Ulf Kristersson, the chair of the conservative-liberal Moderate Party, the biggest opposition party in the current parliament,  a mandate to try and form a new government. On Monday, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven resigned...
Politics 30-06-2021

Blame game over new COVID-19 outbreak intensifies in Finland

Finns have expressed outrage over the lack of testing procedures for a group of 800 Finnish football fans who travelled to St. Petersburg to watch a EURO 2020 match against Russia, where the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant is now...