Finland. The 1997 financial scandal surrounding former bank director and Social Democratic party leader Ulf Sundqvist continued to persecute the government. New data emerged during the year that claimed links with Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen. He was said to have agreed that Sundqvist was assisted by the former Deputy Minister of Finance for a written down fine following his participation in the Finnish banking crisis.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Finland is Helsinki. The data led to the parliament’s second vote of no confidence in the case, but Lipponen and his five-party government managed with clear overweight. However, the Social Democrats received criticism from other coalition parties for the agreement with Sundqvist, and the prime minister promised to investigate the legal conditions for tearing it down.
After an extensive Finnish debate on EMU, Parliament voted in April for the Government’s proposal for Finnish accession to EMU from its inception in January 1999. There was then no clear public opinion for the proposal.
Stock prices in Finland were hit by the Russian ruble crisis during the latter part of the year – trade with Russia has again become important after the dramatic lapse during the crisis years surrounding the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the Finnish forest and timber industry faced competition difficulties when the Swedish krona weakened. But in the currency storms that raged in neighboring countries, mainly in Russia and Norway, Finnish soil remained stable. The reason was considered to be the decision on full membership in EMU as of the turn of the year. This also caused public opinion to turn in favor of EMU. A survey in the autumn showed a clear majority for Finnish membership. Unemployment fell slowly, but growth forecasts had to be written down somewhat at the end of the year.
In September, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was arrested for espionage. To contacts at the Russian Embassy in Helsinki, the man had handed over secret EU documents. The two Russian diplomats were expelled and the spy case was handed over to the prosecutor. The case was foreign policy embarrassing for Finland, who has been a member of the EU for a short time and who in the summer of 1999 takes over the presidency of the Union.
The Finnish government declared in October that the tombs around the Estonia wreck should be respected and that no attempts should be made to salvage the dead. The reaction was a response to the Swedish analysis group’s proposal for such salvage.
Social Democrats and Communists
The new active state policy as a center implemented had a noticeable impact on community perception among the working class groups who had difficulty defending their interests through collective action. This was true of the workers in the tertiary industries and most of the rural proletariat. The agricultural reforms also helped to reduce the importance of the experiences they had previously gained – both in the work of duty and in the work of wages outside agriculture. With the solution to the soil problem, the relationship that had made collective behavior among the land workers disappeared also disappeared. These groups, which in the 1920’s supported the reformist Social Democrats (SPD), had revived the labor movement in Finland at the turn of 1918-19. The Social Democrats continued the traditions of the old Labor Party.
At the end of 1919, an economic boom began, which, together with the revolutionary events in Europe, led to a renewed willingness of action among the workers in Finland – first and foremost a comprehensive strike movement. An even more powerful strike wave occurred in 1927-29. Thus, it was during the boom that the workers had opportunities for a successful professional struggle. But the economic structure – the poor industrialization – did not alienate the cause of the working class. This was reflected in the low number of organized professionals. In the interwar period, the peak was reached in 1928 with 90,000 organized. The weakness of the trade union movement helped to maintain employers’ traditional views on the labor market. It was about individual, not collective, connections. The unions with their demands for collective agreements,
The Social Democrats were ideologically just as capable of picking up a trade union movement – characterized by the laborers as illegitimate – as the old Labor Party in the fall of 1917. The Communists had better luck. In the autumn of 1918, the old labor leaders who had emigrated to Russia formed a Communist Party (FKP), which renounced all the traditional forms of action of the labor movement and instead concentrated on armed upheaval. This tactic did not really work in Finland. It was only when they began to utilize the labor organizations for revolutionary purposes that FKP gained influence in Finland. The trade union movement was dominated by the communists, despite the fact that FKP was banned in white Finland until 1944. Yet the communists sat in parliament through formally non-communist electoral unions.