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Tuesday's papers: Dual citizens, dairy switches and local taxes

Tuesday's newspapers include stories on dual citizens as a potential 'fifth column', dairy firms expanding into milk-free drinks, and Finland's varying rates of municipal taxation.

Jussi Niinistö

The press on Tuesday covers an outburst by the Defence Minister on a familiar theme: the loyalties of dual citizens. Jussi Niinistö said on Monday that Finland should defend itself against the 'Fifth Column' before a conflict starts, and that the country needed 100 percent trust in people appointed to key positions in the national defence apparatus.

He was speaking to the opening event of national defence training courses for people from business and civil society, and his comments were reported by Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun). His ministry is already preparing a law to limit the positions to which dual citizens can be appointed, but that law has been delayed.

His comments were slammed in an editorial (siirryt toiseen palveluun) by the Savonlinna daily Ylä-Savo, which called the comments a 'gross generalisation'. The paper says that Niinistö is really talking about Russians, but doesn't dare say that aloud, and that if there are concerns in the Defence forces about specific individuals, those cases should be thoroughly investigated.

Dairy-free revolution

More and more people in Finland are shunning dairy products, but HS has a story (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on Tuesday about their needs being met by some of the big dairy companies. The biggest dairy company in Finland, Valio, is launching an oat milk product and at the end of this month it will be joined by the Juustoportti upstart.

Valio says it's nothing new, as the company has been making juice and berry-based products for decades. Neither of those serve as a milk replacement, however, and the firm's product development manager Tuomas Salusjärvi admits to HS that they are responding to shifts in consumer habits.

Salusjärvi points out that consumption of vegetable-based drinks grew by 39 percent in 2017, and at the same time milk consumption has dropped. It is now running at half the level it was in the 1950s, and even since 2000 annual milk product consumption per capita has dropped some 20kg to 120.3kg.

The move has synergies for Valio, which is a co-operative owned by dairy farmers. Many of them grow oats alongside their cow-based business, so Valio has a ready source of the raw material.

Tax rate review

The Taxpayers' Association published a look at 2018 municipal tax rates, and Iltalehti has gathered (siirryt toiseen palveluun) insights that will have practical benefits for those with a static income and freedom to move anywhere in the country.

Jämijärvi residents pay the most tax in mainland Finland, according to the comparison, while those in Kauniainen (a wealthy enclave in the capital city region bordered entirely by Espoo) pay the least. Not earth-shattering news, but for people who match the comparison couple, with incomes of 40,000 euros a year and 46,000 euros a year, there may be some practical benefit.

Ålanders have the chance to pay even less tax, with Jomala charging those who live there just 16.5 percent of their income, less than even Kauniainen's rate of 17 percent.