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APN podcast: Finland's Brexit blunders and the art of compromise

APN asks why Brits in Finland are having trouble accessing public services and why budget talks were so difficult.

Photo of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (in middle) and members of her government featuring All Points North podcast logo.
Party leaders L to R: Annika Saarikko (Centre Party), Maria Ohisalo (Green), PM Sanna Marin (Social Democrats), Jussi Saramo (Left Alliance), Anna-Maja Henriksson (Swedish People's Party). Image: Benjamin Suomela / Yle

This week the five-party governing coalition finally agreed on a deal outlining state spending plans for the next two years, the second half of the cabinet's term in office.

The negotiations took more than a week as the talks exposed deep splits on how far to subsidise peat burning as it becomes more of an ecological burden.

You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Article continues after audio.

Audio: Yle News

Yle political journalist Hannu Tikkala told APN that the main takeaway from the protracted negotiations was that the government did not collapse over issues like phasing out peat burning or weakening income-related unemployment benefits, which would have led to a full-blown political crisis.

"We can say that the biggest impact of these talks on the average person is that we still have a cabinet, and this is a big thing if you think about what kind of world we live in now and what kind of measures we still have to take against coronavirus," Tikkala told APN.

Brexit confusion

APN also looks at cases of UK nationals having trouble accessing services and benefits in Finland—even though British citizens permanently resident in Finland since 31 December 2020 who have registered under the withdrawal agreement should have the same rights as before Brexit.

Last week on APN, British ambassador Tom Dodd was keen to remind British people to claim their rights after Brexit. But since then, Brits living in Finland have reached out regarding bureaucratic hassles they’re facing at employment offices and hospitals.

"When I approached the TE office to register as unemployed, I was told that due to Brexit, there were issues in doing that," UK national Stephen Penny told APN.

Benefits agency Kela said it's up to individuals facing problems in the system to escalate the matter.

"You should really explain the situation and say that, 'I have a place of domicile, and I have the entitlement document from Kela, so what is the problem, really?'" Jasmina Kähkönen from Kela’s cross border healthcare unit told APN.

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This week's show was presented by Zena Iovino and Egan Richardson. It was produced by Mark B. Odom while the audio engineer was Laura Koso.

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