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Thursday’s papers: Finland’s EU presidency climate goal, increase in shoplifting, and white-tailed deer sighting

Will Finland be able to push through a green agenda during its EU presidency, asks Helsingin Sanomat?

Valkohäntäkauriita syyskuisessa maisemassa.
White-tailed deer sightings in residential areas are relatively uncommon. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Main daily Helsingin Sanomat (HS) leads with a news story about Finland’s focus on tackling climate change as it takes over the EU presidency for a six-month term that starts next Monday.

Finland wants the EU to take concrete steps towards a sustainable future, with the EU taking the role of a global climate change leader. One of Finland's main objectives is the EU's carbon neutrality by 2050, a target which is supported by the majority of EU members.

HS highlights challenges for Finland in achieving its EU climate goals. These include the EU’s 2030 goals -- member countries have committed to reducing 40 percent of emissions compared to 1990 levels. Yet, according to Finland’s new government, in order to achieve EU carbon neutrality by 2050, the 2030 emissions reduction goal needs to be tightened to at least 55 percent. This aim will be difficult to achieve as there are EU members such as Poland, which is very dependent on fossil fuels, and will need help making changes.

“Poland has, for example, said directly that it hopes for clarification and some sort of compensation package. Other EU members also understand that Poland, which is almost totally reliant on fossil fuels, needs support,” EU Commission spokesperson for climate action and energy Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told HS.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne unveiled Finland's EU presidency agenda on Wednesday, and HS writes that as Finland will lead important EU ministerial meetings, the country will play a major role in influencing decision-making.

“The time for ’yes, but’ politics are over,” said Rinne on Wednesday, emphasising that change must start now. The newly-elected Finnish government's ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2035 is naturally reflected in its EU presidency role, writes HS.

During its EU presidency, Finland will compensate air travel emissions by planting new trees and offering conference guests tap water instead of bottled water.

Shoplifting on the rise

Financial newspaper Taloussanomat reports on the growing problem of petty thieves in Finland. The bricks and mortar retail trade estimates that shoplifting costs close to 450 million euros in losses annually, in addition to an extra 100 million euros needed for extra protective measures such as alarms and surveillance cameras, says Jyrki Aho of the National Police Board of Finland, in an interview with the paper.

“This affects margins, and (ultimately) customers end up paying for these losses in their purchases,” says Aho.

According to Aho, thieves are most often caught on camera, by alarms or attentive staff members.

Many shoplifters are reportedly unaware that self-service checkouts are also closely monitored and use the opportunity to skip scanning some items in their grocery basket.

According to Aho, children and youth steal drugs, makeup, candy, clothing, energy drinks and soda. In 2018, close to 46,000 criminal reports relating to shoplifting were filed in Finland. All told, 35,000 individuals were suspected of shoplifting, the largest group being over 21-year-olds, according to the National Police Board.

Adult petty thieves, that is the over 21-year set, most commonly stole drugs, clothing, food and electronics.

Better than Bambi

On a lighter note, Tampere daily Aamulehti reports on a white-tailed deer seen near housing in Finland’s second largest city.

The animal was traveling through Tampere’s Kauppi national park on Midsummer afternoon when it crossed the Tammer-Golf course and headed into a residential area.

According to the Finnish Wildlife Agency's Jani Körhämö, interviewed by Aamulehti, such sightings are not uncommon in the wilderness, but "a white-tailed deer in Kauppi is much rarer than a small deer."

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