Tuesday's papers: Nato support, border shopping and scooter injuries

Tuesday's papers follow a theme from Monday's Nato visit.

E-scooter riders have suffered plenty of injuries in Finland, but new restrictions on their use have helped reduce the numbers. Image: Tommi Pylkkö / Yle

Most of the papers carry (siirryt toiseen palveluun) news of think tank Eva's poll about Nato membership, which suggests that slightly more Finns now think it would be a good idea for Finland to join the alliance.

Some 40 percent of respondents said they don't want Finland to become a Nato country, while 26 percent said they thought the country should join the western military club.

That support is up four percentage points from the 22 percent figure recorded a year ago. It comes after Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visited Helsinki on Monday, reminding Finland that they have a close partnership — but it's not as good a security guarantee as membership.

Eva also published a poll on Monday suggesting that Finns are increasingly critical of Russia, with 60 percent of those answering the survey saying they consider Russia a military threat.

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Border shopping slump

Retailers along the eastern border, meanwhile, are hoping for a less-threatening invasion, with tourists returning to the shopping centres and retail parks set up to cater to their needs.

Helsingin Sanomat has been to Vaalimaa (siirryt toiseen palveluun), one of the big three border points, to see how the 'Zsar' shopping centre is doing.

It has not turned a profit since it opened in 2019, and with visitor numbers down and only 25 of 60 units rented out. The centre is an 'outlet' location, aiming to sell last year's designer items at a discount while looking for a customer mix of 25 percent Russian visitors and 75 percent domestic shoppers.

That's not working so well with Covid restrictions limiting travel between the two countries. In 2019 more than 5.5 million people passed through the checkpoints on the eastern border, and this year that's down to half a million.

Scooter injury crisis eased

Iltalehti reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that the scooter injury crisis, which had filled Helsinki's emergency departments with injured scootists, has eased somewhat.

In July some 80 patients arrived at Helsinki and Uusimaa region hospitals after an accident on an electric scooter, prompting concerns among health officials about the rental mobility aids.

In September that number was 15, and since new restrictions on rentals were introduced there has been a further decline — just 6 scooter-related injuries in October so far.

That same month, Helsinki agreed with the scooter rental firms that they would not be available after midnight on weekends, in an effort to limit their use by inebriated riders.