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Tuesday's papers: Marin unites SDP, Finnair hits turbulence and Lapland tourism worries

Sanna Marin's speech at the SDP conference sealed her grip on the party.

Pääministeri ja puolueen puheenjohtajaksi valittu Sanna Marin Suomen Sosialidemokraattisen Puolueen 46. puoluekokouksessa Tampereella sunnuntaina 23. elokuuta 2020
Sanna Marin taking leadership of the SDP at the party conference in Tampere on 23 August 2020. Image: Mauri Ratilainen / EPA

Prime Minister Sanna Marin was confirmed as the leader of the Social Democratic Party over the weekend, and on Monday she closed out the conference in Tampere with a speech illuminating her vision for the party and the country.

She said that she would try to shorten working hours in Finland, signalling a shift to the left in the party and the country after Juha Sipilä's (CEN) effort to increase working hours.

On the other hand, she did not rule out eliminating the pathway to early retirement for older workers who are made redundant, a key demand from employers and parties to her right in upcoming talks about efforts to increase employment.

Helsingin Sanomat summarised the weekend's shifts in an editorial on Tuesday that outlined the party's recent history and argued that Marin had now brought the party together.

Former leader Antti Rinne had seized power in 2014 after challenging his predecessor Jutta Urpilainen, starting a years-long civil war in which party figures on the right did not fully accept Rinne's leadership.

Marin's overwhelming popularity among the public looks set to end that rift, with no challenges on the horizon to her leadership as the party's support climbs well above the levels seen during Rinne's tenure.

Finnair problems

Business daily Kauppalehti covers Finnair's difficulties in adapting to the pandemic, reporting that the company could make permanent job cuts this winter if things don't pick up.

With no sign of expanded international travel demand happening any time soon, that looks a likely outcome.

KL reports that last week Finnair CEO Topi Manner sent a circular to staff outlining his concerns, and warning that furloughed staff could see their jobs eliminated permanently if the current slump continues.

The firm has drastically cut flights and is set to contract services even further in the coming months as demand collapses.

The company told KL that it keeps staff up-to-date on all developments. Earlier this year Finnair received 700 million euros in public funds to help tide it over during the pandemic.

Lapland in trouble

Taloussanomat reports on difficulties expected for Lapland if the usual influx of foreign tourists does not arrive this winter.

A survey by local business bodies said that 60 percent of businesses expect to shut down after the winter season if foreign tourists don't arrive to splash their cash.

Some 264 firms responded to the survey, and 90 percent of them were small companies employing fewer than 50 people.

The paper also visits Lapland to check out arrangements for a 'travel bubble' that businesses hope will ensure at least some tourists arrive.

The plan is to focus on family groups moving together and minimising the risk of onward infections, with authorities ready to suspend flights at short notice if there's a spike in infection rates.

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