Democracy and rights
Finland is a rule of law and democracy with
strong and independent institutions. Human rights are
guaranteed by law and well respected.
The elections in Finland are free and fair. A variety
of parties reflect different views and permits for
demonstrations are not needed. Civil society
organizations can operate freely and associate life is
active in relation to the population. Religious freedom
prevails and is respected.
Violence against women remains a problem. According
to a survey by Amnesty International 2018, every third
woman has been abused by her partner and approximately
50,000 Finnish women are subjected to sexual violence
annually. Finland has been repeatedly criticized by
human rights organizations for not doing enough to
prevent violence against women. Despite this, Finland
was ranked as the world's third most equal country in
2018, according to Word Economic Forum. 42 percent of
the members of parliament were women in 2017.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Finland, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Although the tolerance has increased in recent years,
negative attitudes may exist to ethnic minorities and
LGBTQs. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has
established a program for Roma policy in Finland aimed
at improving the status of the Roma. But much remains to
be done. Among other things, a disproportionately large
proportion of Roma children leave school prematurely.
The law prohibits discrimination on grounds of sexual
orientation or gender identity. Same-sex couples can
enter into marriage, but the church has so far refused
to wed same-sex couples.
Finland is the third least corrupt country in the
world according to the Transparency International index
of expected corruption in 2018.
Freedom of expression and media
Individuals can freely and openly criticize state
powers without the risk of reprisals. Freedom of
expression is constitutional and the principle of
publicity gives the public as well as journalists access
to public documents. Finnish media is independent in
relation to power, although the market for newspapers is
relatively concentrated. Finland ranks second in
Reporters Without Borders Index of Press Freedom in the
World 2019, shortly after Norway.
The government plans to introduce new intelligence
laws that would provide the Finnish security police and
military intelligence service with tools to more closely
monitor the citizens. In 2018, Parliament decided on an
addition to the Constitution, which is a first step to
fully implementing the new laws.
Judicial system and legal security
Finland is a well-functioning rule of law. The
independence of the courts is guaranteed by the
Constitution and the country has a Chancellor of Justice
with constitutional protection and independent status.
The Chancellor of Justice monitors that the authorities
comply with applicable law. Human rights are generally
respected and discrimination based on gender or ethnic
origin is prohibited by law.
Finland is ranked 4 out of 126 in the World Justice
Project index of the rule of law in 2019. The criticism,
after all, is directed at Finland regarding the rule of
law is mainly about the length of trials. Criticism has
also been raised against the fact that unaccompanied
children over the age of 15 can be held in detention for
long periods of time pending rejection, sometimes
together with adults and convicted criminals.
The age of punishment is 15 years, but lesser
penalties of four months up to one year occur for
persons under 18 years.
Finland's gun laws have been among the most liberal
in the world. The laws came into question after several
shooting dramas with many casualties in schools, among
others. At the end of the first decade of the 2000s,
there were approximately 1.6 million registered firearms
and citizens were able to purchase weapons from the age
of 15, including automatic weapons. The gun laws were
tightened in 2011 and now the age limit for weapons
licenses is 18 years and for firearms 20 years.
Reforms for cheaper healthcare
After three years of economic decline, the government decides to reform the
healthcare system to reduce costs. The country's aging population has caused
health care costs to skyrocket. The decision causes a government crisis as the
different coalition parties view the issue differently, but the crisis is
averted at the last moment.
Finland tightens asylum requirements
The reason for the stricter requirements is according to the Finnish
Migration Agency that several areas in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia are now
safe. The asylum examination must now be done based on the individual's
situation, and not only on the basis of the refugee area. Around 70 percent of
the refugees who arrived in the country in the autumn are from Iraq.
Popular protests against asylum seekers
Immigration-critical people are protesting against the sharply increased
number of asylum seekers coming to the city of Torneå in the north. The
protesters form a "human wall" to stop the refugees from moving from Haparanda
in Sweden to Finnish Tornio. They urge the refugees to stay away. On a single
day in September, 800 refugees cross the border from Sweden - the highest figure
since the Russian Revolution.
Protests against the cuts
About 30,000 people walk the streets of Helsinki in protest demonstrations
against cuts in state spending. A strike is announced that causes disruptions in
public communications. Both bus, air and train traffic are affected by many
canceled departures, and post and port services are adversely affected.
Impaired working conditions
As a consequence of the country's economy shrinking three years in a row, the
government makes several restrictions on the working conditions for employees.
Government employees may reduce the number of vacation days from 38 to 30. The
overtime allowance is halved and the remuneration for working on Sundays is
reduced from 100 to 75 percent. A waiting day for illness is introduced. The
government's goal is to reduce the state's labor costs by 5 percent.
Yes to rescue packages to Greece
Finland, after hard negotiations, approves a third rescue package for Greece.
Manifestation for a multicultural Finland
More than 10,000 people gather on the streets of Helsinki in a manifestation
for a multicultural society. The manifestation is organized in response to
controversial statements against multiculturalism recently made by a
parliamentary member from the true Finns.
Finnish yes to loan negotiations to Greece
Finland is one of the countries in the euro zone that sets the most stringent
requirements for the crisis-hit Greece (see Greece, calendar) to obtain new
loans and thus be saved in foreign exchange cooperation. However, the Riksdag
votes to allow the so-called troika, the EU, the IMF and the ECB, to start
negotiations on a third rescue package for Greece.
A completely bourgeois government is formed
Center leader Juha Sipilä presents a completely bourgeois government that
includes the Center, the Collecting Party and the True Finns. Both the Center
and the True Finns have an EU-skeptical attitude and both parties have expressed
dissatisfaction with the deteriorating relations with Russia and with the EU
sanctions against the neighboring country. The government consists of 14
ministers. The true Finns' leader Timo Soini is appointed Foreign Minister and
EU Minister, while Alexander Stubb, former Prime Minister of the Socialist
Party, becomes Finance Minister.
Sink bombs against unknown object
The Finnish Navy detects an unidentified object under the surface of water in
Finnish territorial waters. Sink bombs are dropped to alert the intruder, but
not for the purpose of hitting the object, which is suspected to be a submarine
from foreign power.
The center will be much smaller
In the parliamentary elections, the Center receives 49 seats, an increase of
5 seats since the 2011 election. The fourth largest party will be the Social
Democrats with 34 seats. The remaining mandate is distributed between the Greens
(15 seats), the Left League (12), the Swedish People's Party (9) and the
Christian Democrats (5). The turnout is 67 percent.
Sharp criticism of the government
A week before Election Day, the Helsinki Sanomat newspaper publishes a survey
in which only 11 percent of those surveyed think the sitting government has done
a good or very good job during the term of office. 61 percent think it has done
a bad or very bad job. In a similar survey in 2012, 12 percent thought the
government was doing a bad or very bad job. The declining popularity is
attributed to analysts' serious problems for the Finnish economy over the past
three years, partly due to Nokia's decline and difficulties for the important
pulp industry. Reduced exports to Russia as a result of Russian trade sanctions
against the EU have also hit Finland hard.
Stubb: "A traumatic experience"
In an interview for the Financial Times, Prime Minister Stubb describes
government cooperation as "a traumatic experience" and adds that no "team game"
existed. The statements are seen as a position for the parliamentary elections
on April 19. The party has backed the polls since Stubb's entry in June 2014.
The center is best placed in the polls before the election. The electoral
movement is mainly about the weak Finnish economy as well as defense issues.
In-depth defense cooperation with Sweden
Finland's Defense Minister Carl Haglund, together with his Swedish colleague
Peter Hultqvist, announces that the two neighboring countries will deepen
defense cooperation. This includes increased exchange of information on air and
sea conditions in the Baltic Sea as well as opportunities to use each other's
air and naval bases, as well as extended exercises with flights over the
Northern Calotte. In addition, Finland will amend the law so that it can assist
Sweden in submarine hunting when the neighboring country so requests. Defense
cooperation must be further deepened by applying also in crisis situations, such
as a state of war, and not just in peacetime. The decision calls for legislative
changes in both countries.