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Tuesday's papers: Will proposed government programme come to fruition?

Finnish dailies examine the new government's ambitious programme, which was officially announced on Monday.

Antti Rinne ja Pekka Haavisto jäämässä pois ratikasta.
Members of Finland's incoming government arrived by tram on Monday to Helsinki's Oodi library to announce their programme plans. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Tuesday's papers lead with stories reviewing the new five-party coalition's proposed programme and goals, which include making the country carbon-neutral by 2035 and significantly increasing spending by 1.2 billion euros.

Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat (HS) runs several articles looking at what’s in store, including a two-page spread entitled "Will the parties keep their promises?"

The daily examines both pre-election promises and what was unveiled on Monday at Helsinki's main library Oodi where Prime Minister-designate Antti Rinne (SDP) and coalition party chairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens), Juha Sipilä (Centre), Li Andersson (Left) and Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP) revealed the draft agenda.

Promises, promises

According to HS, one of the details that has been much mulled over by the press is Rinne’s pre-election vow on May Day 2018. "I promise an additional 100 euros a month to those who receive a pension that's less than 1,400 euros a month."

HS writes about the new government's proposal to increase the pension of those who receive less than 1,000 euros a month by 50 euros.

"Fifty euros isn’t 100 euros," writes HS, but goes on to point out that, "Rinne didn’t promise 100 euros in the first year, he often (went on to) emphasise that the top-up would be made according to what the budget would allow."

"Too good to be true"

HS also ran a straw poll of people on the street about the incoming government's plans.

"In theory the new government budget sounds very good. But we’ll still have to wait and see where all the money comes from and how realistic the programme really is at the end of the day," Ella Salminen, a 24-year-old student, told HS.

Meanwhile, Toivo Koivisto, 74, told the paper that presenting the new government plan in a library "was an awesome spectacle" but that "the first thought that came to mind was that this is too good to be true."

Effects of the sin tax

Tampere-based daily Aamulehti also explored the proposed plan at length, including a concrete list of what will change if it takes effect.

Examples of the so-called sin tax will most affect those with unhealthy habits. For example, according to Aamulehti, the increased cost of a packet of cigarettes by 1.8 euros would increase the annual sum for pack-a-day smokers by 657 euros.

Other examples include the increased cost of sugary soft drinks – a 1.5-litre bottle would go up by 10 cents increasing the annual cost for 1.5 litre-a-day soda drinkers by 36.50 euros a year.

Meanwhile, added taxes on a bottle of wine ( .75 litre) would increase the cost by a total of 10.92 euros per year, based on consumption of a bottle of wine per week.

Far north cabinet hopefuls

And at the top of Finland, the main daily of Finnish Lapland, Lapin Kansa, leads with a story speculating whether Lapland will get its own minister in the new cabinet with the region’s Markus Lohi and Katri Kulmuni of the Centre Party as the strongest candidates.

HS, Aamulehti and Lapin Kansa also carried news of the five-party leaders' choice of the nickname "the Famous Five", which brings to mind British writer Enid Blyton’s popular children’s book series of the same name.

Many papers speculate on whether all of the Famous Five’s ambitious plans will be realised. Avid readers may recall that the Famous Five’s adventures all took place while the kids were on holiday.

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