Finland. Minister of Local Government and Administration
Mari Kiviniemi was elected new chair of the Center Party in
June after Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, who announced his
resignation six months in advance. This meant that
Kiviniemi, 41, also took over as prime minister after
Vanhanen. She thus became Finland's second female prime
has a population of 5.518 million (2019). Kiviniemi took over as head of government at the end of
June for a coalition that retained its previous composition:
the Center Party, the Collecting Party, the Swedish People's
Party and the Green League. Kiviniemi stressed the
importance of starting economic growth to increase tax
revenue. In June, the EU Commission declared that Finland
must reduce its budget deficit from 4.1 per cent to a
maximum of 3 per cent of GDP in 2011.
Although support for nuclear energy decreased in public
opinion, the Riksdag decided this summer that two new
nuclear power plants should be built, the sixth and seventh
reactors. At the same time, the Riksdag also decided on a
final repository for spent nuclear fuel. Outside the
parliament, protests took place, and the issue divided the
government parties. The Greens voted against the proposal,
as did a number of members from other government parties.
Construction starts for the new reactors are planned for
2014, one of them a few miles from Haparanda or at the Gulf
of Bothnia at the height of Skellefteå.
During the autumn, a dispute arose about the position of
the Swedish language in Finland. In a new division of the
regional administration, the municipality of Karleby was
allowed to expand south towards Swedish-speaking Vasa
instead of north towards Finnish-speaking Oulu, contrary to
the government's proposal. The matter was decided by the
Chancellor of Justice with the argument that otherwise, the
Carleby residents would receive poorer service in their
Swedish mother tongue. Center leader and Prime Minister Mari
Kiviniemi expressed criticism of the Finnish Swedes, and
center politicians spoke of the fact that the Constitution
which guarantees bilingualism should be reviewed. Former
Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen (S), in turn, criticized
Kiviniemi and warned of vendetta against Swedishness and the
From eastern Finland came the desire to give school
pupils the opportunity to study Russian instead of
compulsory Swedish, since Russians come for border trade.
Prime Minister Kiviniemi was positive about the proposal,
which was also supported by Russian Federation Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin when Kiviniemi visited the country
at the end of the year.
The xenophobic party True Finns increased their
popularity during the year and in October received support
of 12.5 percent of the electorate, according to an opinion
poll. The Socialist Party had the most support with 22
percent, followed by the Social Democrats with 19.7 percent
and the Center Party with 18.9 percent.
In 2013, the country recorded negative economic growth
for the second consecutive year. The economy shrank by 1% in
2012 and 1.4% in 2013.
From being the world's largest mobile manufacturer, Nokia
from the late 00's slowed further behind, and in April 2014,
Microsoft took over Nokia's mobile division for $ 5.44
billion. €. Three months later, Microsoft announced it was
laying off 12,500 in the acquired division.
Finland does not allow marriage between two persons of
the same sex. A Finnish woman, after 18 years of marriage,
wanted to be recognized as transgender in marriage, but this
was rejected by the Finnish authorities, who demanded that
the couple's status change from marriage to partnership. In
July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights issued a
ruling opposing the couple. Both the court and the Finnish
authorities were criticized by the international human
rights organizations for violating the rights of LGBT
In spring 2014, Finland advised against the financial
sanctions against Russia planned by the EU. Katainen stated
that it was necessary to consider the development of the
Crimean peninsula balanced and that sanctions would
otherwise harm Finland's economy.
In July 2014, Prime Minister Katainen was appointed EU
Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. He therefore
resigned as chairman of the Coalition Party. This post and
the post of prime minister were taken over by Alexander
Stubb, who at the same time transformed the government.
The parliamentary elections in April 2015 became a big
victory for the Center Party, going 14 seats up to 49 out of
the 200 parliamentary seats. the Center Party formed a
right-wing coalition government with its leader Juha Sipilä
as prime minister. The government also included the Sand
Finns and the National Coalition.
In July, the government tightened the country’s refugee
legislation. While unaccompanied refugees under the age of
15 cannot be detained, refugee children aged 15-17 can be
detained for up to 72 hours if a deportation order is
available. This can be extended by an additional 72 hours.
As part of the right-wing wave across Europe aimed
specifically at refugees and immigrants, the government
further tightened its asylum policy in 2016. The right to
family reunification was reserved for families with a
"secure income" set so high that it largely stopped family
reunification. Further administrative restrictions and
practical barriers to family reunification were introduced,
hindering refugees and especially unaccompanied minors the
right to family life. Authorities continued to detain
unaccompanied children and refugee families with children.
There was no time limit on how long this time limit could
extend. In September, there was a drastic restriction on the
right of asylum seekers to a free legal counsel while
questioning the authorities. In future, this service will
only be offered to asylum seekers where there is exceptional
reason to have a resident. The time limits for appeal were
reduced from 30 to 21 days in the 2nd instance and to 14
days in the 3rd. human rights organizations drastically
reduce the risk of asylum seekers being extradited to
countries where they are subject to human rights violations.
In 2016, the number of non-religious persons had risen to
25.3% of the population. A doubling compared to 2000 where
the figure was 12.7%.
In May 2017, President Niinistö declared his intention to
run for the 2018 presidential election, but as an