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Friday's papers: Rinne chooses Mäntsälä, Greens and Centre already at odds, warm lake water

Local press are predicting that the new government will have difficulties delivering on all of its promises.

Krista Mikkonen vihreiden puoluevaltuuskunnan ja eduskuntaryhmän yhteiskokouksessa
Environment and climate minister Krista Mikkonen (in foreground). Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Farmers' union paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus says the country's new Prime Minister, Antti Rinne – the first Social Democrat PM the country has seen in 16 years ­– has no plans to move to Kesäranta, the picturesque wooden villa in Helsinki's Meilahti district that acts as the official residence of the prime minister. He instead plans to continue living in Mäntsälä, a town some 60 kilometres north of the capital city, with his wife Heta.

A new Speaker of the Parliament will be named Friday and the MT delves into disagreement brewing over the appointment. It seems the government parties have interpreted the tradition of awarding the seat to the second largest party as meaning the second largest party in government, and has recommended former Centre Party leader and two-time PM Matti Vanhanen for the position. The Finns Party, on the other hand, has contested this logic, saying that as the party that came in second overall in the April elections, a representative of the Finns Party should be given the job.

"Simple mathematics"

Weekly Suomen Kuvalehti features an editorial from Jarmo Raivio saying that the new government programme can be boiled down to two sentences. "Enact a 1.2-billion-euro increase in state expenditures while keeping public finances in balance".

He predicts problems with this equation, as the 75-percent employment rate that is necessary to fuel the agenda will be hard to reach in an increasingly sluggish economy. Raivio says it also comes down to "simple mathematics", as the task to find more people jobs will become more difficult as the target grows more ambitious. Former PM Juha Sipilä's government managed to push the rate to 72, but now many of the best carrots and sticks have been used and the "people who find it very hard to secure employment" are the only ones left without work.

Early infighting

Helsingin Sanomat covers a statement from the new Green Party environment and climate minister Krista Mikkonen, who before she was officially appointed as minister, said that she doesn't think it's "probable" that all of the pulp mill investment projects in the pipeline will end up being implemented.

Appearing on a morning television interview on Thursday, Mikkonen added that "there aren't enough trees", because the government must also consider its climate and diversity targets.

The paper notes that specific numbers about how many cubic metres of forest can be harvested in Finland were a major sticking point between the Greens and the rural-backed Centre Party during government formation talks. No specific targets were included in the final version of the government agenda, but the coalition did promise that Finland would be carbon neutral by the year 2035, a vow that made headlines in the international press.

Centre Party politicians wasted no time in registering their indignation, with one MP accusing Mikkonen of sabotaging the government proposal straight out of the gate. After she was sworn in as minister, Mikkonen was asked to comment on the reaction. She said she stood by her comments.

Swimming season has started!

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat runs a story on how quickly inland lakes have warmed up, due to the balmy summer weather Finland has been enjoying.

Measurement of several inland lakes to a depth of 20 centimetres found that water temperatures were already approaching 20 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees higher than average for this time of year.

The Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, found the warmest lake water in the lakes of Päijänne and Tuusulanjärvi in central and southern Finland, respectively.

The tabloid says that many eager outdoor swimmers may have to sit out the weekend, as thunderstorms move over many central and northern areas of the country, but if sunny skies are back next week, no one will have an excuse to not "throw off their winter fur", as the Finnish saying goes, and jump in a lake for a swim.

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