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Monday's papers: Security, family reunification, aggressive telemarketers

The Munich Security Conference, a record number of decisions on family reunification, falling interest in driving among young Helsinki residents, and steps to deal with aggressive telemarketers were among the items in Monday's Finnish newspaper press.

Mies istuu tietokoneen äärellä headset-luurit päässään
Image: Tuomas Hirvonen / Yle

In an analysis of the weekend's Munich Security Conference, Helsingin Sanomat (HS) said that the world "gazed into an abyss", particularly in the Middle East.

"The region that gave birth to three great religions and an endless number of bloody conflicts returned to the spotlight on the final day of the Munich Security Conference. Crises that gripped the world in fear in past years are even more dire," the paper wrote.

HS noted that alongside Syria, the other great issue of concern was nuclear arms. According to some measures, the situation regarding nuclear weapons is worse today than it was during the Cold War.

Where HS saw some hope was in Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinistö told this paper that the Ukraine conflict is the most acute crisis for Finland. At a press conference in Munich, President Niinistö stated that Finland would be prepared to be involved in an international peace-keeping operation in eastern Ukraine.

Otherwise, Helsingin Sanomat characterized Finland's profile at the conference as very low key.

Teija Tiilikainen, who directs the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, painted a gloomy picture of the global security situation.

"There is tremendous potential for conflict in world politics at the moment, and much unpredictability. The risks associated with unresolved conflicts are truly great, be that North Korea, Syria or Iran. There is not much light."

Family reunifications rise

Several of the morning's papers, including Turun Sanomat, carry a syndicated Lännen Media report that last year Finnish immigration authorities made decisions in over 10,000 family reunification cases for the first time. 80% of these saw family members from abroad being granted residence rights.

That figure has doubled over the past decade and the number is expected to keep growing.

The largest upswing last year was in family members of people who have been granted asylum in the country. Just fewer than 2,700 of the cases in which there was a positive decision concerned this category. However, this was below the 3,000-3,500 that the immigration service had forecast.

Year before last income requirements for family reunification were made more stringent. For example, the scale used by the Finnish Immigration Service requires a family of two adults and two children to have a net income of 2,600 euros per month.

As this article points out, meeting the income requirements for family reunification would be tough for many families who have lived all their lives in Finland.

Even so, according to the Director General of the Interior Ministry's Migration Department, Jorma Vuorio, the increase in the number of applications indicates that the tougher income requirements have not had much of an impact.

Not so interested in driving

The main headline in morning's Metro freesheet says that teenagers in Helsinki aren't very interested in getting a driving license.

Based in figures from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, less than a third of 18 year-olds in the capital took a driving test to get a license last year. There has been a falling trend for the past decade. This has also been seen in Vantaa (43%) and Espoo (under 50%)

Nationwide, however, the capital region is an exception. Elsewhere there has been a slight rise in exams for licenses to drive cars and vans, and a sharper increase in 18 year-olds taking tests to get licenses to drive heavy vehicles.

The paper in part attributes lower interest in driving in urban areas to better access to public transport.

Dealing with telemarketers

An item in Jyväskylä's Keskisuomalainen, which was also picked up by several other papers, reports a move to bring aggressive telemarketing under control.

Two MPs, Mikko Savola of the Centre Party and Reijo Hongisto of the Blue Reform Party, have filed a formal written question to the government demanding an explanation of what it intends to do to about telemarketers and in particular how to prevent them from swindling the elderly.

Placing the blame on the system of sales commissions paid to telemarketers, the two MPs say that this has distorted the situation, shifting responsibility onto the consumer to clearly state the rejection of an offer. In many cases, they note, orders are registered even though the consumer did not understand that he or she had agreed to a deal.

Savola and Hongisto want to see clear rules government how telemarketing works, including a ban on telemarketing to elderly people over a certain age.

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