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Friday's papers: Turkey warms to Finland, Covid's permanence and Helsinki's payroll problems continue

The Turkish president says he "doesn't have a problem with Finland."

Leaders in and outside the EU launched a "European Political Community" in Prague on Thursday. Image: EPA

Thursday saw the inaugural meeting of the European Political Community in Prague, which according to the Finnish government (siirryt toiseen palveluun) "promotes close cooperation between the EU and its European partners."

Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also attended the gathering and briefly met with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP).

"He relayed the same message he's delivered before. That is, there's no real problem with Finland. We're continuing discussions and waiting for Turkey to ratify Finland's Nato application," Marin told Kauppalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

Speaking to the press, Erdoğan said, "Finland's and Turkey's relationship is very different from that of Turkey and Sweden. Finland is not a country where terrorists run free."

Turkey has been standing in the way of the two Nordic countries' Nato path since they applied in the spring, seeing Swedish membership in particular as a problem. Membership requires unanimous ratification by all 30 member states. All but Turkey and Hungary have now ratified the two countries' bids.

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Covid's staying power

Public health authority THL said that Finland recorded 18,368 coronavirus cases in the last week. The actual number of cases is, however, unknown, writes Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun), as many people no longer get PCR tests, which if positive count towards the official caseload.

"The real number of cases may be six or seven times higher than this. Nobody can know at this point," said Asko Järvinen, head of infectious diseases at the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district (HUS).

Järvinen, however, told IS that high case numbers were not a cause for concern, as the virus is not sending people to the hospital.

"Vaccinations have mostly achieved what they can do—serious forms of the disease have largely disappeared," he explained.

Payment problems

Helsinki City's payroll problems are still ongoing. Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun)reports that at the end of September, pay slips included thousands of errors while 66 city employees were not paid at all.

In 1,200 cases people were overpaid.

Problems with the City of Helsinki's payroll system arose in April, when a newly-installed system experienced several technical glitches.

Earlier this month the city announced the payment of a one-off, extra late payment compensation to its workers affected by payroll errors.

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