Sign up for our newsletter ⟩
News |

Friday's papers: Rightist re-alignment, tractor tragedy and Tom Jones refund rights

The newspapers on Friday cover a Europe-wide nationalist regrouping, a tragic accident in Saarijärvi, and the rights of Tom Jones fans after a cancellation.

Tom Jones
Tom Jones Image: Csaba Krizsan / EPA

Nationalist agitator Steve Bannon is heading to Europe to try and boost hard right populist parties across the continent. The Fins Party has said it would probably refuse funding from Bannon's new setup, but on Friday Helsingin Sanomat asked Finns Party leader Jussi Halla-aho how he plans to approach the May 2019 European elections.

It turns out the party has been in talks with Italy's right-wing League party, but Bannon has not been in touch. Negotiations are apparently at an advanced stage.

"I already know in some detail what will happen after the European elections, but I can't offer more information at this stage," said Halla-aho.

The goal, according to Halla-aho, is to have one bloc in the European parliament for all nationalist populist forces. At present they are spread across four different groupings, but the upheaval following Britain's departure from the EU (scheduled for March 2019) could allow them to coalesce into one caucus.

One issue that prevented a joining of forces in the past was attitudes to Russia. Some European populists, including the League, are quite positive about Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin. The Finns Party has not shared that enthusiasm, but according to Halla-aho Russia should not be a red line. The party's goals, which mostly relate to immigration, should override concerns about relations with the military power just the other side of Finland's 1,300km eastern border.

Mourning village

Iltalehti carries reaction and colour from Saarijärvi, a village in Central Finland where a 6-year-old boy lost his life under the wheels of a tractor on Thursday. The tragedy was doubly shocking, as it appeared that his 12-year-old brother had been behind the wheel at the time.

The paper's headline focuses on the fact that it is relatively common to see children driving tractors in the countryside, as families on farms tend to get their offspring out into the fields to help at an early age.

"You always see little heads in the driver's cab, and if it's a big family there could be two or three," said local cafe owner Marja-Liisa Lehtonen. "It's easier for Mum if Dad takes the kids in the cab."

Money back after a concert cancellation?

Business daily Kauppalehti has a story on the cancellation by Tom Jones of a concert at Turku's Down by the Laituri festival, which brought a promise of 50 percent refunds. Kauppalehti asked the Consumer and Competition Authority whether that complied with the law.

The tickets for Wednesday's shows at the festival cost 69 euros, compared to 55 euros on other days, suggesting that Jones was regarded by promoters as a big draw. The Competition Authority said that the product must correspond to its advance marketing, and that some customers might well have purchased tickets only to see the Welsh crooner.

The authority advises dissatisfied fans to approach the promoters to ask for a refund. It's not unusual for such complaints to remain unresolved, however, so fans of the Sex Bomb singer should be prepared to make official complaints if they want their money back.

Latest in: News


Our picks