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Thursday's papers: MP concerns about Trump, loss of EU roaming fees dear for Finnish operators, bank customers unhappy

The newspapers on Thursday featured the wary reactions of Finnish MPs to US President Donald J. Trump's first days in office. Another report says that the planned elimination of mobile phone roaming charges within the EU will be particularly expensive for Finnish providers. A survey carried out by a Finnish bank finds that most people think the main priority of banks is to profit at the cost of their customers.

Meppi naputtelee kahta kännykkää istuntosalissa.
MEP using mobile phones. File photo. Image: Olivier Hoslet / EPA

Finland's biggest daily Helsingin Sanomat asked MPs representing all of the country's main parties about their thoughts on the new US president. In less than two weeks since his inauguration, Donald Trump has managed to spark several protests, implemented constitutionally-questionable executive orders and raised the eyebrows of world leaders.

MP Pekka Haavisto of the Greens party told HS he thinks the "Donald Trump effect" will likely change the US's efforts on climate change, saying that environmental issues would suffer.

Regarding Trump's executive order to ban the entry of all people from seven predominantly Muslim countries last week, Haavisto likened the move to the days of US Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Cold War.

In the 1950s McCarthy led an effort to cleanse the US of all communist sympathisers and supporters.

Haavisto said Trump's ban - which is effectively against Muslims - doesn't agree "with our understanding of American values," the paper wrote.

Finns Party MP Juha Eerola said he was not surprised by Trump's recent actions, saying that somewhere in the world politicians keep their election promises.

Eerola says he does not condemn Trump's ban - and that Finland has no reason to be worried about Trump's reported close ties with Russia.

"Throughout my short life it has been said that the biggest threat to world peace is that the Russian and US presidents don't get along. Now the biggest threat seems to be that they are too close to each other," Eerola told the paper.

Social Democrat MP Nasima Razyar said that if the Trump administration continues as it has these past days it would be "terrible."

The Afghanistan-born and dual passport holder Razmyar said Trump's ban on people arriving from the countries of Syria, Iraq, Iran Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan "doesn't make any sense."

National Coalition Party MP Pertti Salolainen said he was concerned about Trump's protectionist agenda and said the situation doesn't look good from the European point of view. He also said that he is greatly concerned about Trump's scepticism about the United States' role in NATO.

Christian Democrat party chair and MP Sari Essayah said she could not understand the country-specific travel ban.

When countries decide whether or not to grant asylum to an individual, Essayah said, each person's case must be specifically addressed, she said, citing international agreements.

Swedish People's Party MP Eva Biaudet said Trump's entry ban was a slap in the face to the entire world.

"No one should be discriminated against on grounds of nationality or religion," she said. "Trump goes against all this."

Centre Party MP Elsi Katainen said she hopes that Trump's practices do not spread around the world, saying it is important to avoid the notion that such actions would now be acceptable. She said that while she understands in principle that each country can decide whom to accept into their countries, it is important to defend the values of humanity - and to stick to agreements made in international treaties.

Cap on EU roaming fees costly for Finnish operators

Another article in HS follows up on the news that European lawmakers reached a deal on Wednesday to cap wholesale charges of mobile operators in enabling the abolishment roaming fees within the EU in June of this year.

European MP Mia Petra Kumpula-Natri, who negotiated for the setting of wholesale rates on behalf of the European parliament, said she was satisfied with the discussions, saying the plan was a good solution for both consumers and operators.

At first the roaming fee cap will likely be welcomed by European consumers who travel around Europe, but Finnish telecom operators say that they will have to foot the bill when the roaming charges disappear.

Wednesday's agreement was the result of a compromise - EU operators will be able to charge each other a maximum of 7.70 euros per gigabyte for roaming EU customers. That cap will go down every year until 2022. Next year the ceiling would be six euros per gigabyte and finally in 2022, the cap would stand at 2.50 euros.

Caps for phone call- and SMS roaming would also go down significantly.

The current maximum wholesale price for a gigabyte of roaming data is 50 euros, the paper reports.

Representatives of Finnish mobile operators Elisa and DNA said the negotiated wholesale price of 7.70 euros per GB of data is far too high - especially when considering the disparity of Finns who travel around Europe vs Europeans who visit Finland.

Elisa's SVP Henri Korpi said that Finns use ten times more mobile data than the average European.

"When a French or Spanish customer comes to Finland they use one tenth of the data that Finns use in their countries," Korpi said.

The agreement still needs to be approved by parliament, the paper writes.

HBL: Customer opinion of banks at 15 year low

A Savings Banks Group (Säästöpankki)-commissioned survey of bank customers in Finland found that they're not happy about the service they're getting.

Managing director of the Federation of Finnish Financial Services Piia-Noora Kauppi told Hufvudstadsbladet that the banking industry should take a good look in the mirror.

Some 86 percent of respondents in the survey said they thought the main motivation of banks was to make money from their customers, with a large majority saying that banks always think of themselves first.

People felt banks were faceless, greedy and arrogant, the paper writes.

The most unhappy banking customers lived in the capital region, while those with a more positive attitude lived in the countryside. Younger customers between the ages of 18 to 34 had the least negativity towards banks overall.

Thirty percent of those over the age of 65 said they felt forced to use internet banking when they would prefer to go to the bank, while 43 percent of that age group said they didn't mind banking on the internet.

Kauppi said that because there are so many different types of customers in different circumstances, it is clear that banks need to improve the overall banking experience and to provide more individual services for their customers.

One problem, Kauppi said, is that the entire banking industry finds itself in the midst of new heavy regulatory measures and the rollout of many new digital services.

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