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Wednesday's papers: "Historic" Nato talks, nurses' strike, spring sun

Finland's Parliament will on Wednesday begin discussing the possibility of applying for membership of the Nato alliance.

Bild från riksdagen då president Zelenskyj på distans håller tal, via en skärm. Riksdagen står och apploredar.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressing the Finnish Parliament via video link at the beginning of April. Image: Lehtikuva
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Helsingin Sanomat previews the start of a Parliamentary debate on Nato membership — scheduled to kick off on Wednesday afternoon — which could lead to a "far-reaching and historic" decision, namely whether or not Finland opts to join the alliance.

In fact, HS believes the writing is already on the wall in terms of which way the debate is likely to go.

"Today, a process will begin in Parliament that will lead to Finland's Nato membership - unless miracles happen," the paper writes.

The debate will be structured around a security policy report submitted by the government to Parliament last week. While the document did not directly take a position on Nato membership, HS notes that such a move was presented "in a rather positive light".

"The report states, among other things, that Finland's and Sweden's membership of NATO would increase the stability of the Baltic Sea region in the long term," HS cites as one example.

Support for an application to Nato will require as "broad support" as possible across the parliamentary parties, but it is as yet unclear whether the decision will need the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers — or whether a simple majority would be enough. That decision will be made at a later date by Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs.

HS also notes that if Finland does decide to apply for Nato membership, the application must be ratified by all 30 current member states — a process that could take between 4 and 12 months. By that point, Finland may have a new government, with parliamentary elections scheduled for next April.

"However, the intention is that whatever is decided now will be adhered to," President Sauli Niinistö told HS.

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Union: Finland facing "catastrophic shortage" of healthcare workers

Tampere-based Aamulehti speaks to the leaders of Tehy and SuPer, the unions at the centre of a decision to call off a nurses' strike that had been scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

The decision was made in response to the threat that a new law currently making its way through Parliament — called the Patient Safety Act — would effectively force striking nurses back to work.

The unions are, however, planning to step up their industrial action, AL writes, as they search for better pay and conditions for workers in the healthcare sector.

"We will take time now to consider our options, but it doesn’t matter what we do. It matters what the Finnish government does," SuPer chair Silja Paavola tells Aamulehti.

"We have been saying all along that we face a catastrophic shortage of healthcare workers, and one solution to that is a payroll programme that requires government funding."

Has spring "finally" sprung?

Dare we say it?

Winter is …. finally over. Or so writes tabloid Iltalehti, noting that the sun is set to shine across the entire country on Wednesday, with temperatures up to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than usual for this time of year.

IL adds that this means daytime temperatures will range between 13 and 18 degrees in southern and central parts of Finland, while Finnish Lapland will see the mercury climb to a minimum of 9 degrees.

"However, changes are expected towards the end of the week, when a cooler air front will start to blow in from the north," Foreca meteorologist Jenna Salminen writes.

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