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Friday's papers: Debt discussion, Tesco departure, and an autumn storm

Finland's discussions on public debt often take on a negative tone.

It will be necessary to travel to the UK to get Tesco products in future. Image: Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA

Helsingin Sanomat has an analysis piece (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on Finland's attitude to the state taking on debt. Finland has traditionally set a limit at the start of each government's four-year term in office, and spending does not rise above it.

For the first time in recent history, that limit has been breached because of the disruption caused by Covid. Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) says she wants to re-think the country's attitude to debt on a more fundamental level, in order to fight climate change.

The so-called 'green transition' will cost billions of euros as advanced economies switch to a low-carbon future. Debt is very cheap right now, so the argument is that it's okay to take on huge new loans to pay for decarbonisation projects.

That argument has already won out in France and, significantly, in the Netherlands, which is one of the leaders of the so-called 'Frugal Four' countries that take a particularly negative view of new public sector borrowing.

Marin now wants to consider similar moves in Finland, but the country's dominant discourse may make that problematic. HS notes that a precedent might come from the 10 billion euro fighter jet acquisition that's currently going through, and hasn't been seriously questioned.

It's regarded as crucial to Finland's defence, and therefore its future as an independent state. The question for Finnish decision-makers now is whether they see climate change mitigation as a similarly important priority.

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Tesco takes flight

There's bad news for lovers of British grocery chain Tesco's products, as Finland's S Group announces that they will no longer stock products from the UK's largest supermarket brand.

S Group has stocked around 200 items from Tesco's Finest and Free From ranges, but that is to end next spring as Tesco winds down its supplies.

Kauppalehti reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that the decision is down to Brexit, with Tesco tiring of the bureaucracy that now surrounds trade between Britain and the European Union.

The Brits will be replaced by French competitor Carrefour, which started supplying S Group with products last week.

Autumn storm on the way

Iltalehti carries news (siirryt toiseen palveluun) of stormy weather on the way as schools in parts of the country get set for autumn half-term holidays next week.

The weather starts on Friday, with parts of Lapland set to receive up to 30 centimetres of snow over the course of the weekend.

That will make driving conditions poor for a time in the north, but Iltalehti quotes a meteorologist as saying the snow cover could stay for the winter now — enabling a longer ski and winter sport season.