Skip to content
The article is more than 9 years old

Monday's papers: Could new EU rules trigger a Finnish healthcare crisis? School cuts come under the spotlight, and a new Miss Finland is crowned

A broad range of stories lead the papers today, from fears that a new EU ruling could make it impossible for health authorities to continue running on-call services, to a look at the ongoing discussions over where to make cuts from the schools budget. But one story does get universal pick-up in Monday's press – the crowning of 21-year-old Bea Toivonen as 2014's Miss Finland.

Henkilö lukemassa sanomalehtiä.
Image: Yle

Turku's Turun Sanomat carries a warning of how changes to the EU's working time directive could bring on-call healthcare to a standstill in Finland, by making current employment arrangements with doctors illegal.

So-called 'free-form' on-call systems currently rely on doctors being on standby, meaning they are not paid a full salary, but only receive money for the time spent on care duties.

However, the paper reports that in a precedent-setting case, judges in the EU Court of Justice - which interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way across the Union - ruled that even when an employee is on standby this must be counted as full-time work.

“It is very likely that current arrangements cannot continue as they are,” Risto Ihalainen from the Finnish Medical Association tells the paper.

If every health authority offering an on-call service was forced to begin paying staff full time rates, salary costs would increase dramatically and overtime limits would soon be breached. Changes in the directive would also apply to other professions as well as doctors, Turun Sanomat adds.

School cuts under the spotlight

Helsingin Sanomat leads with the news that city councillors will meet on Wednesday this week to consider the Education Ministry's decisions about which schools should be closed to meet the government's savings target. The Ministry has already earmarked schools for closure, but local politicians are looking to draw out the final decision.

“It's important to look at the bigger picture first, so that the cuts aren't made bit by bit,” a Green party councillor tells the paper.

Parents of the schools facing the axe are also up in arms. Helsingin Sanomat accompanies the councillors on a visit to Tapanila primary school, which is due to be shut. Parents there are criticising the ministry's population calculations - “Pupil numbers here are going to be going up, not down,” one tells the paper.

The mother of all beauty prizes

Whether you think the annual Miss Finland beauty pageant is a sexist relic or simply a bit of bikini-clad fun, last night's ceremony receives a lot of column inches – and photo space - across all the main papers this morning.

Ilta Sanomat devotes space to recounting the tears of the runners-up, but the big story of the contest is undoubtedly that this year's winner, 21-year-old Bea Toivonen, is in fact the second generation in her family to wear the crown.

The mother-daughter pair of “Finland's most beautiful family” tell the paper of their delight at last night's result. Ilta Sanomat remarks that the two are just like sisters, and they say it feels “simply absurd” that Bea should have won Finland's top beauty contest at the same age that her mother, Marja, took the prize 29 years ago. And what advice did Bea's mother pass down to her? “Have a think about what you're going to say beforehand, and keep a cool head.”

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) said on Sunday that his government plans tougher penalties and other means to ensure that gang-related crime in Finland does not explode as it has in Sweden.