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Monday's papers: Macron impact, divisive bill, port review

The victory of Emmanuel Macron in France is the top story across the board in Finland's dailies; news of a new bill that would divide jobless jobseekers based on activeness and luck as well as a piece on a nationwide check-up of passenger ship ports also make headlines.

Vuosaaren satama Helsingissä.
All of Finland's ports, including the Vuosaari harbour, will be checked this year. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

It's not surprise that after a nail-biting election, new French President Emmanuel Macron is the talk of the town. Finnish daily Ilta-Sanomat has a domestic angle on the 64-percent win, with a headline this Monday declaring that "Finland can breathe a sigh of relief".

The continuity of joint European economic and security policies is the prime reason for optimism, says Teija Tiilikainen, head of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

"The EU sees a common future," she says in IS. "That we can weather Brexit and remain unified. The union will also get the chance to develop and strengthen its economic policy. These are good things for Finland."

But first things first, experts say: Macron will have to boost the economy of his own country before sweeping Europe with improvements. IS writes that the new Président aims to cut trade union power and instate savings measures and layoffs worth some 60 billion euros – but that a public investment programme of 50 billion is also in store.

"If he manages to activate France's economy, that will give Finland opportunities, too," said Macron's oversaeas colleague, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.

Division in future of employment?

In more imminent domestic issues, top daily Helsingin Sanomat runs an article on yet another bill to impact employment. The new system would favour not just those who (are able to) apply most actively for new work, but also those who happen to get lucky with their hunt.

Negotiator Marjaana Maisonlahti from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health says the bill is to make parliamentary rounds during May; but main employee union SAK is strictly opposed to the proposal, saying it weakens the country's unemployment benefit programme.

The bill is a follow-up to last Friday's bill that would force jobseekers to apply for jobs once a week, HS writes.

For those who don't manage that or to find 18 hours of work over three months will see their benefits dwindle by 4.65 percent. The incremental model's supporters hold the belief that unemployed people who fear losing their benefits will be more likely to apply for and find work, the paper writes.

All 73 ports checked

Finally in shipping news (so to speak), all of Finland's ports will be reviewed by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi), local paper Aamulehti announces.

The checkups mean to survey and improve security measures in all 73 of Finland's ports, most of them being cargo harbours.

"This is about threat assessment, as reviews of this type do every five years anyway," Trafi expert Henrik von Bonsdorff tells AL. "We're checking through all ports this time because we've just updated our security assessment protocol. Various terror attacks of recent times have also been factored in."

People travelling to Tallinn via the Finnish capital will now have to flash their tickets in the electronic reader at the lower gate of West Terminal 2 of the Port of Helsinki before entering the spacious upstairs waiting area complete with cafés and restaurants. The step is in line with security changes that Trafi will be reviewing.

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