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Wednesday's papers: Budget deficit grows, storm incoming and airport walkout ends

Finland's government will take on nearly 11.5 billion euros in additional state debt to balance the state's books next year.

Photo shows Finance Minister Riikka Purra (Finns) and Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) at a press conference on Tuesday.
Finance Minister Riikka Purra (Finns) and Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) presented the updated draft budget proposal on Tuesday evening. Image: Markku Ulander
Yle News

Many of Finland's Wednesday morning newspapers carry the figure of 11.5 billion euros in their headlines.

That's the amount of additional state budget Petteri Orpo's (NCP) coalition government intends to borrow following the completion of its budget negotiations on Tuesday evening.

This is a substantial increase on the initial figure of 10 billion euros, presented to the media by Finance Minister Riikka Purra (Finns) at the end of last month. It is also more debt than the previous government of Sanna Marin took on in its last budget — a move that was sharply criticised at the time by the then-opposition, now-governing NCP and Finns parties.

Helsingin Sanomat writes that both Orpo and Purra described the current outlook for the Finnish economy as "very worrying" as they unveiled the updated draft.

"We have big challenges, but we are taking determined steps to turn the ship around," Orpo said, one of several maritime references made during the press conference, HS notes.

The 1.5 billion euros discrepancy between the August draft and the new update can be explained by downgraded economic forecasts — and lower-than-expected tax revenues — from the finance ministry, HS writes.

The paper further notes that interest rate increases are likely to see the government's debt servicing expenses rise by more than 2.5 billion euros compared to last year.

Now that the four coalition partners have agreed on the terms of the draft budget proposal, the document will be submitted to Parliament for debate and a vote by MPs.

Batten down

Autumn has been slow to arrive in Finland this year, with summery conditions lingering in the air longer than usual, but many papers note it will land with a bang on Wednesday.

Tabloid Iltalehti writes that the Finnish Meteorological Institute's (FMI) map of Finland is almost entirely orange and red on Wednesday morning, due to the number of weather warnings in place.

The warnings predict strong winds of up to 25 metres per second around the capital region as well as in the east and southeast of the country.

IL has taken to the streets to survey the damage, which at the time of writing includes a fallen street light in Helsinki and damage to a petrol station forecourt in Laitila.

Ilta-Sanomat is also live-streaming the incoming storm, writing that the strongest gusts and heaviest rains will hit the capital region around 9am.

IS further notes that snow has fallen in the north of Lapland on Wednesday morning, with a reader's photo seeming to confirm Finland's 'first snow' of this season.

Helsinki airport returning to normal

Ilta-Sanomat also reports that ground staff workers at Helsinki Airport will return to work on Wednesday, following a sudden walkout on Tuesday afternoon.

The action led to Finnair cancelling dozens of flights on Tuesday afternoon and evening, causing congestion and chaos at the airport.

IS writes that the walkout was a spontaneous reaction to an unexpected decision made by Finnair to no longer sell low-cost airline tickets to employees of partner companies.

"The ticket offering had been seen as an employment benefit. Now that it's gone, it can be a pretty significant increased cost for those who travel more often," Aviation Union chair Juhani Haapasaari told IS.

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