Finland. According to countryaah, the current population of Finland is 5,540,731. President Sauli Niinistö’s speech at the opening of the parliament in February was a clear message about stricter refugee policies in Finland and Europe. The flow of migrants is largely a migration, not an escape from immediate distress, the president said. Europe cannot cope with the uncontrolled migration for a long time, Niinistö explained. The true Finns praised the speech, while the Social Democrats called it “ice cold”.
During the year, the Government decided on a number of austerity policies in asylum policy. Among other things, it became more difficult and expensive to obtain a residence permit, and family reunification became more difficult. The number of asylum seekers was thus estimated to decrease to around 10,000 during the year.
After three years of recession, Finland’s economy had turned slightly upward, and GDP was expected to increase by 1% during the year. But exports continued to decline, including in the food industry due to EU sanctions on the Russian Federation. In March, thousands of farmers with tractors in Helsinki protested against lower prices of milk, among other things.
In the IT sector, Nokia and Microsoft notified about 2,350 employees in Finland in April. Unemployment reached close to 12% in May, but fell to 7.7% in September.
In June, a number of trade unions agreed to increase the number of working hours by a total of three days per year without salary compensation. The government’s intention with the proposal was to strengthen the competitiveness of the economy vis-à-vis Sweden and Germany. About 85% of the labor market was covered.
Interior Minister Petteri Orpo became the most popular minister in a Gallup poll in May. The main reason was assumed to be the tightening of asylum policy. In June, Orpo was elected new chairman of the Conservative Party, since he challenged Alexander Stubb at the party congress. Orpo thus also took over the post of Finance Minister from Stubb.
When the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin visited his Finnish colleague Niinistö in July, he declared that any Finnish NATO membership would lead to Russian troops moving to the Finnish border. Niinistö received some criticism for meeting Putin despite Russian annexation of Crimea, but he said he wanted to help break the disbelief between NATO and the Russian Federation.
According to thereligionfaqs, Niinistö explained during the year that a possible Finnish decision to apply for NATO membership should be preceded by a referendum. He thus opposed his former party friends in the Assembly Party, Stubb and Orpo, who believe that Finland should apply for NATO membership next term without a referendum. In September, the Finnish Air Force participated for the first time in a national exercise in Sweden, and in October the Swedish Air Force participated in a similar exercise in Finland.
In September, a 28-year-old man was beaten at a meeting held by the neo-Nazi Finnish resistance movement outside the Helsinki railway station. The victim died after a week. The perpetrator, a well-known neo-Nazi, was arrested on suspicion of murder. The Finnish Resistance Movement is a branch of the Nordic Resistance Movement, which is led from Sweden. The death row was aroused by strong reactions and was followed by major manifestations against right-wing extremism in several cities. About 15,000 people participated in Helsinki. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä promised that the government would take new measures against violent extremism.
In December, a man shot dead three women in the city of Imatra. The victims were a local politician and two journalists, and according to the police, the perpetrator was mentally ill.