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 minister.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Finland 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 percent to a maximum of 3 percent 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 Swedish language.
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 people.
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 independent candidate.