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Tuesday's papers: Cultural challenges, budget negotiations, and a "no hands" driver

The press looks at "honour control" in Finland, the future of the nation's accounts, and a road safety Twitter furore.

Pääministeri Antti Rinne puhuu politiikan toimittajien aamiaisella Helsingissä.
Prime Minister Antti Rinne's government will begin budget negotiations on Tuesday. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

Finland's biggest selling daily Helsingin Sanomat reports on the plight of many women and girls in Finland whose lives are tightly controlled by their families because of cultural backgrounds or religious beliefs.

According to the women interviewed by HS, the restrictions arise from family and so-called community honour, and may include how the women dress, what time they should return home, and how much time – if any – they can spend with friends outdoors. One of the girls interviewed by HS said that she was forbidden from attending school swimming lessons, playing football and socialising.

Although authorities are providing more training for staff in how to deal with immigrants and different cultures, it is often very difficult to intervene in family practices, the paper reports.

The paper quotes Bahar Mozaffar, a project manager at the Vantaa Centre of Expertise, as saying that the main focus in addressing and resolving potential problematic practices should be the integration of immigrants into Finnish society. The ultimate goal of integration is for people to feel that they belong to society and that they can influence their own lives.

"The identity of a person moving to a new country will inevitably change, and that is a delicate matter. It is clear that no one can support and respect two conflicting cultures. You always have to choose where you belong," Mozaffari told HS.

Mozaffar added that she believes that successful integration requires sufficient support, particularly during the process of building a new identity.

"We need to recognise this need and design integration services accordingly. Building identity should aim to increase immigrants' ability and motivation to integrate into a new society," Mozaffar said.

Budget talks begin

Tabloid Iltalehti reports on the Finnish government's budget negotiations, which are set to kick off at the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday morning. The big challenge facing the government is how to raise the employment rate while also financing proposed expenditure increases, according to IL.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne's government has committed itself to raising the rate of employment to 75 percent during its term in office, and funding has already been earmarked for initiatives aimed at getting more immigrants and young people into full-time work.

The tabloid also speculates on how many of the spending and tax cut pledges made by the government during the build-up to the April election will come to fruition during this budget period. Proposals to reduce the level of tax for low income earners, as well as Rinne's commitment to spend 183 million euros a year on raising minimum pensions, are expected to be included in this year's budget.

'Look ma no hands'

Fellow tabloid Ilta-Sanomat carries the report of a BMW driver captured by a police speeding camera with both of his hands behind his head as he drove along a Finnish highway.

Dennis Pasterstein, chief of the Police Traffic Safety Centre, tweeted the photo on Monday, sparking intense social media debate about the actions of the driver, as well as the right of police to publish the photo. Many replies to the tweet pointed out that the driver was not breaking any specific laws.

Pasterstein defended the publication of the photo, however, as a means of provoking debate on road safety and also to remind motorists that they have a duty of care to all other road users too.

"Road traffic laws stipulate a general duty of care for other road users too and there is a provision stating that the vehicle must be able to stop safely on the road in all foreseeable situations. If you have your hands off the wheel in that way, it can be difficult," Pasterstein told the tabloid.

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