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Friday's papers: Hybrid threat tightens land deals, fearful Finns Party, ski jumper's funeral

A new law makes it harder for foreign buyers to get land, the Finns Party fear the future and Matti Nykänen will be laid to rest.

Rantakiinteistön Prostvik Resortin paljut kallion laella Paraisten Nauvossa
Shorefront properties such as this one in Nauvo, which was owned by Airiston Helmi, will be harder for foreign businesspeople to acquire. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Finland's parliament has approved a law that requires foreign buyers to get Defence Ministry permission before purchasing land to weed out threats to national security.

The headline in tabloid Ilta-Sanomat seems to indicate that only Russians may henceforth have to jump through hoops to buy up land, including any waterways and real estate. The new law states that prospective buyers from all non-EU and non-ETA countries will need special permission to get their hands on Finnish land.

Even companies registered in Finland but whose decision-making bodies are at least one-tenth of non-EU/ETA origin will have to seek a permit. The Ministry of Defence is unable to say just how the change will affect the permissions process.

"The length of the license handling period is not stated in the law," says the ministry's environmental counsellor, Matias Warsta. "The plan is to keep things going as smoothly as ever, but we need to see what kind of resources we'll get."

The whole reason behind the new restrictions is to cull possible threats to Finland's sovereignty.

"Property acquisitions in strategic locations can be used to gain footholds in the country, weaken the operating conditions of law enforcement, develop espionage or otherwise serve foreign interests," the government's reasoning went, following the Airiston Helmi money-laundering case where Russian business interests infiltrated Finnish national security.

Approved by parliament on Tuesday, the law states that non-European property shoppers can still buy housing stocks and condominiums without restrictions. President Sauli Niinistö still needs to sign off on the law before its date of introduction can be set, writes IS, though a 2020 deadline is expected.

Finns Party supporters fear everything except climate change

A new political survey by the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) finds that the supporters of the nationalist Finns Party are the most frightened by the future out of all of Finland's parties, writes daily Helsingin Sanomat.

The Sitra survey, conducted by Kantar TNS, asked more than 2,000 people questions gauging voters' attitudes towards the future. When asked, "How do you see the future?" a total of 31 percent of Finns Party supporters said they were fearful and saw "many threats". That figure is more than double that of the opposition parties. Meanwhile the Centre Party had the least concerns, with only 7 percent voicing fears.

The survey also asked respondents to rate their agreement with a related statement: We are able to shape the future. Here the Finns Party were also the most pessimistic of Finland's parties, with only 27 percent of their supporters agreeing entirely. The runaway optimists of the bunch were the Green Party followers at 47 percent.

An interesting finding of the survey, pointed out in HS, is that even though Finns Party proponents were the most fearful, they were the least concerned about climate change and protecting the future of the environment. Only 41 percent of Finns Party voters considered the environment very important, while all other parties went above the halfway mark.

The confidence interval of the results is 2.1 percent in each direction.

Legend gets semi-public procession

Regional paper Turun Sanomat writes this Friday that ski jumping gold medallist and national figure Matti Nykänen's funeral procession through his home town of Jyväskylä is expected to draw large crowds from across the country.

The cortège will begin from the old Jyväskylä chapel at 1 pm on Saturday, with a designated route winding around the city.

Only family members and close friends of the deceased Flying Finn will be allowed near the chapel. The city of Jyväskylä and local law enforcement advise locals to gather at the Laajavuori ski jump hill, which was Nykänen's athletic home base. The procession will stop at the hill for one minute.

"Matti Nykänen's family wanted the procession to be small and private," said city communications manager Helinä Mäenpää. "The flags at the ski slope will be at half mast."

Ski jumper Matti Nykänen passed away at age 55 on 4 February, 2019. He is to be cremated and interred next to his father and grandmother.

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