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27 ways the new govt programme could affect young people

There are plans for free contraception, an age limit for energy drinks, lengthier compulsory education, a fast fibre network and more.

A number of reforms will tackle the transition from school to working life. Image: Jaani Lampinen / Yle
Yle News

The new government led by the Social Democratic Party’s Antti Rinne on Monday unveiled an ambitious 200-page programme that touches upon a gamut of areas that could specifically affect the under-30 population in Finland. Here’s a lowdown on what to watch out for.

1. Job guarantee

If a young person under 25 years of age or a student under 30 is unemployed, the government will guarantee an internship or apprenticeship — this could include a workplace, work trial, training workshop or a rehabilitation program.

2. Tougher taxes on sugary drinks and alcohol

Taxes on sugary drinks and cigarettes will rise and alcohol taxes will increase moderately. According to calculations, an eight-euro cigarette packet will cost 9.80 euros after the tax hike.

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Image: Kalle Mäkelä / Yle

3. Compulsory secondary education

Every primary school student will have to complete secondary education i.e. high school or vocational training. The compulsory school age will be increased to 18 years.

4. Energy drink ban

Government will ban the sale of energy drinks to consumers under 16 years of age.

5. Swedish compulsory for matriculation

Government wants to strengthen the learning of another domestic language at school and aims to restore Swedish as a compulsory subject for matriculation exams.

6. Free contraception

Contraception will be provided free of charge across the country for people under 25 years of age — this is an experiment that will be reviewed at the end of the parliamentary term.

7. Fiber-optics for everyone

The government plans to build a fiber-optics network across the country, so everyone will have access to high-speed broadband. In addition, data transfer speeds will increase.

8. More vegetarian and organic food

A new national food program aims to reduce the climate footprint of Finnish food and increase understanding of food production. The proportion of vegetarian meals in schools and public offices will rise and municipalities will be encouraged to favour domestic and organic production of meat, eggs and milk.

9. Combating over-indebtedness

The term of payment default entries is to be reduced. In addition, a positive credit register will be introduced — essentially a database where lending companies can see the borrower’s outstanding loans and income data real time. The purpose is to give the lender a better chance of assessing the borrower's solvency.

10. Support for rape victims

The penal code definition of rape will expand to include lack of consent. Services and coverage of support centers for sex crime victims will be widened across the nation.

11. No tuition fees for higher education

Higher education leading to a degree to remain free of charge.

12. More sports facilities

Government plans to support the construction of sports facilities and renovation of local sports facilities, parks and outdoor trails.

13. More recycling

The new administration plans to introduce separate collection of textile waste before the 2025 deadline set in EU Waste Framework Directive, and ramp up plastic recycling.

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Greater attention will be paid to recycling plastics. Image: AOP

14. Higher gasoline prices

Lower emissions are to be taken into consideration in vehicle taxation. Taxation of fossil fuels will be increased in line with the projected increase in consumer prices — the price of petrol and diesel may rise by about five cents per litre.

15. Crackdown on child sexual offenders

Minimum sentencing to be increased especially in cases of serious sexual offenses against children.

16. Tackling discriminatory recruitment

Government plans to develop an action plan against racism and discrimination in the labour market. It also plans to look into anonymous recruitment — many people feel foreign names in applications act as a deterrent despite appropriate training and experience.

17. Equal opportunities for young athletes

Young people interested in sports will get similar access to training in vocational schools as in sport-oriented high schools.

18. Basic education for undocumented migrants

The government program plans to guarantee the right of every young person — including undocumented migrants or those in immigrant integration programs — to complete basic education.

19. Ban female genital mutilation

Government plans to secure funds to work on preventing female genital mutilation (FGM) in Finland.

20. Criminalise forced marriages

Proposed plans aim to abolish and criminalise forced marriages.

21. Media literacy to combat false news

The aim is to prevent the spread of disinformation by teaching media literacy in schools and youth centres and helping kids protect themselves from online risks. There are also plans to support responsible journalism on digital platforms popular with youngsters.

22. Reduce attractiveness of payday loans

Regulations on consumer- and quick-loans to be tightened and plans to reduce the attractiveness of consumer credit by curbing aggressive marketing.

23. Reducing gender pay gap

Plans are on the table to increase wage transparency to reduce the pay gap between women and men.

24. Families and work

The administration is considering legislation that will prevent pregnancy and parental leave from jeopardising fixed-term employment.

25. Gender neutrality in personal ID

Gender identification will be abandoned during the renewal of personal identification.

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Personal IDs will get a revamp. Image: Poliisi

26. Transgender law revamp

Transgender laws will likely be amended so that people who choose to have gender reassignment surgery won’t have to undergo medical sterilisation. In addition, medical treatments are to be juridically differentiated from gender reassignment procedures. However, adults will still be able to apply for gender reassignment.

27. Ban on child cosmetic genital surgery

Cosmetic, non-medical genital surgery of very young intersex children will be abandoned to protect their autonomy.

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