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Thursday's papers: Security promise value, municipal pay battle and climate impact of logging

Boris Johnson's visit continues to dominate the news agenda in Finland.

Boris Johnson (left) and Sauli Niinistö met in Helsinki on Wednesday. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

The British Prime Minister landed in Finland on Wednesday to deliver a simple message: Britain would support Finland if it were under attack, regardless of Finland's status as a member or non-member of Nato.

The message came the day before President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) are expected to deliver their conclusions on the security debate that has taken place in Finland since Russia's renewed attack on Ukraine began in February.

Iltalehti carried an opinion piece (siirryt toiseen palveluun) lauding Niinistö's efforts to educate international media in the press conference, as journalists asked questions that — in the columnist's eyes — suggested that Finland should be worried about Russia's reaction.

Niinistö's response was that Russia should "look in the mirror" if it wants to know what caused pro-Nato sentiment to grow in Finland, and that was the day's headline moment.

The paper was pleased with the day's events, however, stating that Finland is now an ally of Britain, and that has a great deterrent effect — and that Wednesday was a historic moment, as Johnson and Niinistö said.

Ilta-Sanomat goes a bit deeper (siirryt toiseen palveluun), carrying an examination of the security declarations themselves, asking Mika Aaltola, Director of the Finnish Institute for International Affairs, what the texts really mean in practice.

"This is a significant milestone," said Aaltola.

"Although it's not binding in the same way as Nato's Article 5, it is very important," said Aaltola. "It is a declaration that clearly states that it's in Britain's interest that Finland and Sweden are protected."

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Nurses and solidarity

Business daily Kauppalehti continues the debate about the municipal labour dispute, which continues after nurses rejected an offer of one percent pay rises over five years over and above the raises agreed in annual collective bargaining.

That deal was on offer to all unions involved in the dispute, from librarians to teachers. Most unions said the deal met their requirements.

But nurses said it fell far short of their demands, which were for annual 3.6 percent increases over and above the collectively-agreed raises.

Kauppalehti is horrified (siirryt toiseen palveluun) at the idea that municipal pay deals would automatically be greater than those agreed by exporting sectors, as are private sector employers and unions.

The paper argues that the public finances simply cannot afford rises on this scale, and that private firms cannot have their hands tied in this way.

Meanwhile JUKO, the organisation representing teachers in the negotiations, has said (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that nurses can't be part of the municipal agreements in future because the majority of them will transfer to new regional authorities from next year.

Logging climate impacts

Helsingin Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on a new paper from Finland's Climate Panel that suggests justifications for increased logging in Finland are without foundation and could quicken the pace of climate change.

Increased timber harvesting has been justified as creating a carbon store, if products are used for building or to store carbon in other ways, and more forests grow in their place.

However, the panel says that there is a carbon deficit as the new forests grow slower than expected.

"Increased intensive use of wood products is not justified on climate grounds," said Jyrki Seppälä of the Finnish Environment Institute.

The experts recommend moderate use of forest products in the future, to give Finland a chance of reaching climate goals.

Finland is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2035, but actions so far have fallen short of that target.

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