Tag Archives: Finland

Finland joins NATO without delay

Brussels 12.04.2022 Finland announced it would apply to join NATO “without delay”, with Sweden expected to follow suit, suggesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will bring about the very expansion of the Western military alliance that Vladimir Putin attempted to prevent.

The decision by the two Nordic countries to abandon the neutrality they maintained throughout the Cold War would be a giant shift in European security structure in decades. Finland’s announcement provoked indignation from the Kremlin, which called it a direct threat to Russia and promised an unspecified relevant response.

The announcement by President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin means that Finland is all but certain to join the Western military alliance, though a few steps remain before the application process can begin. Neighbouring Sweden is expected to decide on application for NATO membership in coming days.

“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” Niinisto and Marin said in a joint statement.

“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” they said. “We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

Finland considers joining NATO in weeks

Brussels 13.04.2022 Finland will take a decision about whether to apply to join NATO in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured) said on Wednesday, April 13, underlining a shift in security perspectives since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We have to be prepared for all kinds of actions from Russia,” Marin told journalists during a news conference in Stockholm with her Swedish counterpart.

The head of government said the option to join NATO had to be carefully analysed but that everything had changed when Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February.

“The difference between being a partner and being a member is very clear and will remain so. There is no other way to have security guarantees than under NATO’s deterrence and common defence as guaranteed by NATO’s Article 5,” Marin added.

Finland and fellow Nordic state and neighbour Sweden are close partners with NATO but have shied away from joining the 30-member alliance, founded in 1949 to counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

52 percent of Finnish Swedes say yes to NATO membership, shows a recent survey Swedish Yle and the think tank Magma commissioned. This is a smaller proportion than in Finland as a whole.

Today, Wednesday, the Government is expected to approve and present the defense policy report. It will be discussed in the Riksdag next week.

At the same time, a new survey shows that Swedes in Finland express greater uncertainty regarding NATO membership than the general population does. Survey has been commissioned by Svenska Yle together with the think tank Magma.

The survey shows that Finnish Swedes’ NATO support is lower in Finland overall. 52 percent of Finnish Swedes say yes to NATO membership, compared with over 60 percent in Yle’s latest NATO survey for the entire
population.

“I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions, but I think it will happen quite fast – within weeks not within months,” said Marin, whose country shares a 1,300-km (810-mile)-long border with Russia to the east.

She said it was important to reach consensus in Finland, which fought Soviet invaders during World War Two and has been militarily non-aligned since then, and that political parties would have internal talks and in parliament in coming weeks.

Finland and Sweden way to NATO

Brussels 11.04.2022 Sweden and Finland may join NATO as early as this summer, the Times newspaper reported citing its sources. (Image: Sandra Marin Prime minister of Finland).

According to the news outlet, it is expected that Finland will apply for its membership in June and Sweden will follow.

The governments of Sweden and Finland are co-operating on reaching consensus on the matter domestically, however, the final decision will be made by each country independently.

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the possible NATO membership of Sweden and Finland became one of the most debated subjects during the April 6-7 meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

FINLAND: husky at risk of cull

In Lapland (Finland) husky dogs culling are ahead if the post-coronavirus situation continues to degrade, said Pasi Ikonen, an entrepreneur from Hetta Huskies in Enontekiö, in an interview with Helsinki Sanomat newspaper.

Ikonen explained that the assessment is based on his own situation being an owner of 250 dogs.

“We basically don’t kill dogs. If the situation gets so bad that the number needs to be reduced, we try to get their elder to find homes for them. We already have a fairly extensive adoption program. ”

IKOSEN’s food costs for dogs are about 50,000 euros a year and veterinary costs less than 20,000 euros. The dogs are guided by two salaried employees. The total cost is about 120,000 euros per year.

“According to the law, the owner can abandon his dog whenever he wants, there is no obstacle, but it is certainly morally questionable to do so. If there is an emergency situation and there is no other solution, then dogs cannot be kept if they cannot get food and care for them. ”

Ikonen reminds that putting down dogs can be short-sighted. An ordinary draft dog costs 300-400 euros, but a top-class guide dog can cost thousands of euros.

“If the company’s goal is to continue the dog business, then stopping the dogs is a bad idea. Getting a working group of dogs back is difficult. For many, it is a way of life and not a business and the decision to put down dogs is a tough one.”

TRAVEL COMPANY Harriniva’s CEO Niina Pietikäinen says that in her company the number of dogs will be reduced by one hundred dogs in two years. This is accomplished by interrupting puppy production.

The company has 500 sled dogs in two kennels in Muonio. The natural elimination is about 50 dogs a year, Pietikäinen says.

“It’s the only measure right now. Of course, we are already thinking about the next season, ie winter 2021–22. Dogs are as important to us as human workers. They then suddenly do not appear anywhere: they are long-educated, valuable animals. ”

According to Pietikäinen, it is now assumed that this year’s expenses will be covered.

“It’s more than half a million euros. The big question is who would get us here to move them. The inherent feature of a sled dog is to pull and run. It could run a hundred miles a day. ”

PIETIKÄINEN thinks that the worst situation is for a company that only has a dog sled business. He also hopes that Finns will find the dog sled hobby a nice way to move around in nature now that the share of foreign tourists is collapsing.

However, Harriniva plans to continue the dog business.

“But I’m genuinely worried about the thousands of sled dogs in Lapland. It is the kind of breed that is not brought but adopted as a domestic dog. It’s such an energetic dog.”

Malta ambassador resigns after verbal assault

Malta’s Ambassador to Finland has resigned after comparing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler in a public message in the context of Europe remembering the end of World War II.

Malta government ensured that the official apology will be send to Berlin.
The Maltese high diplomat to Finland resigned after comparing German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler.

Michael Zammit Tabona’s anti-Merkel Facebook entry, posted on May 8, which was removed later.

The Foreign affairs minister Evarist Bartolo informed he had accepted the resignation of the Maltese businessman appointed as Malta’s ambassador to Helsinki in 2014.

In his message on Friday, the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe, Zammit Tabona had posted: “75 years ago we stopped Hitler. Who will stop Angela Merkel? She has fulfilled Hitler’s dream! To control Europe.”
Maltese media reported May 10 that the offending post had since been deleted, and that Zammit Tabona could not be contacted for comment.

The Times of Malta newspaper said Zammit Tabona’s posting had been as non-residential and quoted Bartolo as saying he had instructed the ambassador to remove the comment “as soon as I was alerted to it.
The newspaper also quoted Maltese opposition leader Adrian Delia as saying that Zammit Tabona’s Facebook post was “unbecoming of an ambassador.”

Delia told the newspaper Angela Merkel had consistently backed Malta on various issues, describing her as a source of stability in Europe — seven decades after the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Malta’s Chamber of Commerce, in a statement also carried by the newspaper, said Zammit Tabona’s remark had harmed the country’s reputation. It welcomed his resignation.
All persons holding public office and diplomats no less, should take extra care when expressing themselves, as the country’s reputation is no one’s to put in compromising situations,” the chamber reportedly said.

Relations between the two EU nations, Malta and Germany, are becoming increasingly complex over Mediterranean migrant flows and Eurozone debt.

Merkel predicts “difficult” EU budget Summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that talks to set the European Union’s budget for the coming seven years will be “very difficult” at an extraordinary summit beginning February 20 in Brussels.

We think our concerns are not sufficiently addressed on many points, and I therefore see very tough and difficult negotiations ahead,” Merkel told reporters at a Berlin press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured).

Germany and Finland belong to the circle of mainly northern European EU members that pay more into the EU budget than they get out, known as net contributors“.

EU heads of state or government will discuss the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027 during a special meeting of the European Council on 20 February 2020.

In his invitation letter, the President of the European Council Charles Michel said: “The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the multiannual financial framework.”

“Anti-Hungary lobby”strikes again

“The anti-Hungary, pro-migration lobby is back” reads the statement of State Secretary of Hungarian government Zoltán Kovács.

 
Certain elements in the European Parliament remain determined to make Hungary pay for staunchly opposing their pro-immigration agenda and for insisting upon defending Europe’s Schengen border. This is what today’s hearing is all about.

Following a recent initiative by Finland, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, a representative of the Hungarian Government is due to appear at a hearing today in Brussels before an expert committee within the framework of the ongoing Article 7 procedure against Hungary.

For those who don’t recall: almost exactly one year ago, the European Parliament passed a report, drafted by former Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini, (pictured) on the state of Hungary’s rule of law, intent on tying EU cohesion and structural funding to an arbitrary list of “requirements”. In essence, the report regurgitates a laundry list of all the criticisms that Europe’s liberals have thrown at the Orbán Governments since 2010 – including many that Hungary has already resolved with the Commission or other European institutions and more than a few that simply do not fall under the authority of the European Union.

It’s the same left-liberal forces that now want to take revenge on Hungary for standing up against the influx of immigrants and insisting that Europe’s Schengen border be secured. They consider it dangerous and contrary to European values when we insist that the future of Europe depends on protecting our European, Christian way of life and they attempt to silence anyone who opposes their pro-immigration agenda.

“I don’t like that the European way of life is opposed to migration,” said outgoing EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in an interview last week following the announcement of the new Commission portfolios.

That betrays the Juncker Commission’s true colors. It’s an ideologically-driven agenda that the voters of Hungary have rejected more than once.

We welcome with great expectations the new Commission. Following the May European Parliamentary Elections, Hungary and the Visegrád Four have gained in strength in the bloc. As Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced last Tuesday, two of the incoming European Commission’s Vice-Presidents hail from Czech Republic and Slovakia. Meanwhile, the Polish candidate will oversee agriculture, one of the most important EU policy areas, and the Hungarian Commissioner, László Trócsányi, has been nominated to lead neighborhood policy and EU enlargement.

The tides have turned, it seems.

While we have high hopes for the new Commission and have great confidence in incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, let’s not kid ourselves about the next several weeks. This period will define our relationship for the length of the next Commission’s term. We hope and have reason to believe that, unlike Jean-Claude Juncker, Ms. Leyen will understand what Prime Minister Orbán means when he says that for him, Hungarians come first.” 

 

Putin arrived to Helsinki

President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin arrived to Helsinki for his bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. Although there is no official agenda, two leaders are expected to cover not only bilateral relations, but a broader range of international issues: conflict in Syria, Donbass, nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA), and North Korean non-proliferation in first ranks. Ahead of the talks between two delegations, Trump-Putin will have a tete-à-tete meeting, where only two interpretors would be present. The press-conference is announced by the end of the Summit.

The expectations of the international community are high, especially for those who live in regions of conflict, wating the superpowers to start a dialogue to release tensions to benefit of all. The relations between Russia and the U.S. are at lowest since the times of Cold War.

The meeting of two leaders in the Finnish Presidentaial palace is expected to start around 13:00 (local time).

Trump: “Rigged Witch Hunt” damages relations with Moscow

Hours before the meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki President Donald Trump blamed “U.S. foolishness” for bad relations between Washington and Moscow, while the Kremlin said it expected a tough meeting.

President Trump wrote in his Twitter microblog that “foolishness and stupidity and now. the Rigged Witch Hunt” are causes of poor relations with Russia.

“…So common sense tells us that the countries of the world, especially European countries, should be interested in the normalization of relations between Moscow and Washington” – Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told ahead of the visit. However The Kremlin must be on alert in case the North Atlantic Treaty Organization increases the military budget. The Alliance is “an instrument of confrontation,” designed for the purpose, he continued. As NATO openly considers Russia an opponent, the government in Moscow is determined to ensure parity in weapons systems, including nuclear arms, Peskov said to RT TV channel.

 

Sweden culls wolves ignoring EU laws

Swedish hunters were given the go-ahead to hunt 36 wolves and at the beginning of this week already 28 had been shot. In addition, county Dalarna has decided for an additional seven wolves to be culled starting 24 January. So, all in all 43 wolves might be killed which is more than 10% of the population.

“This news is a setback, because by the time the case would be heard by a higher court, this season’s hunt for wolves will have already ended. But what is most disturbing is that these wolves are endangered according to EU nature laws. The decision to cull them in Sweden is therefore not based on science; it breaks laws and is therefore illegal. We call on the European Commission to ensure that Sweden puts a stop to this in the future”, says Tony Long, Director WWF European Policy Office.

The wolf is protected by EU law but rooted in prejudice a rising tide of hostility is encouraging some politicians to push to kill it. France approved a cull of up to 40 wolves following protests last year. When Germany’s wolf population red wolf 60 packs, its agriculture minister recently argued that numbers must be regulated by culling. Finland has culled its wolf population down to 150, and this winter Norway is slaughtering about half of its wolf population of less than 100 animals.

This winter Belgium recorded its first wild wolf in more than a century, marking the return of the animal across continental Europe after decades of absence. Over-hunting, the clearing of forests and urban sprawl caused wolf disappearance from most of Western Europe since the beginning of the XX century. Romania is one of the European countries where the wolf never disappeared, but while it kept a territory here, its presence is not without challenges, Romanian Insider reports.

 

 

 

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