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Friday's papers: Trump-Putin reaction, taxi shake-up and EU summit

The press on Friday includes stories on the planned Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, details on changes to taxi fares and news of a breakthrough at an EU summit.

Vladimir Putin ja Donald Trump.
Vladimir Putin ja Donald Trump. Image: Mikhail Klimentyev / EPA

Yesterday it became clear that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are very keen to meet, and they will do so in July in Helsinki. That has brought a mixed reaction, with some experts claiming the meeting might be unpredictable and therefore dangerous for Finland. 

Official Finland has no truck with such views, of course, and Foreign Minister Timo Soini saying the costs of staging a huge summit would be outweighed by the benefits.

"Finland will get a big PR boost from this," Soini told Ilta-Sanomat. "You can't measure that just in money."

Soini was also keen debunk any misconceptions that Finland might be a 'neutral' country. It hasn't been neutral since the end of the Cold War, yet some of the coverage of the Trump-Putin meeting has talked of Finnish 'neutrality'. Soini begged to differ.

"Finland is part of the west, a part of the European Union, Finland is a Nato partner for peace," said Soini. "Finland's position here isn't unclear to anyone."

Kauppalehti talks to Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori, asking how all the guests will be accommodated during the summit. With some difficulty is the answer, according to Vapaavuori, as he suggests AirBnb might step in to fill the gap in hotel capacity. Helsinki has only around 10,000 hotel rooms, a quarter the number in greater Stockholm--so if you're planning a trip to the capital in mid-July, you'd better get cracking

Taxi fare details

As reported at length recently, Finland's taxi laws are to be deregulated from Sunday onwards. That means taxi firms can charge what they like, and many of them are planning to take advantage of the changes to offer cheaper fares and seize a bigger share of the market.

On Friday Helsingin Sanomat publishes a nifty calculator allowing readers to check the fare offered by different operators, and they do offer some substantial savings. 

There is a catch, however. Taxis no longer have an obligation to take all fares, so you should book in advance if travelling in a rural area or at a quiet time. The different operators have different booking systems too, so it may require several apps or phone numbers to access the full range of taxi services.

EU summit agreement

EU leaders including Juha Sipilä are gathered in Brussels for a meeting of the EU Council, and it has so far been an eventful meeting. First Italy refused to sign off on anything until it got what it wanted on migration, and then the heads of government were locked in an all-night session to try and thrash out an agreement.

The Finnish press reports on Friday that the 28 leaders have reached an agreement, with the Sipilä telling Finnish journalists that the idea is now to establish 'closed camps' close to the Mediterranean coast to house migrants, with agreed landing points for boats of migrants in distress both inside the EU and in North Africa.

According to Iltalehti Sipilä said that many details were still open, but the broad outline of the policy corresponds to Finland's vision. 

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