Tuesday Newspapers: Åland’s Conscription, Empty Apartments and Chinese Electric Vehicles | News

The media explores the limits of military service, ghost apartments and the buzz around electric vehicles.

Åland is a Swedish-speaking maritime province of Finland. Image: Silja Viitala/Yle

Finnish party chair Rikka Purra said on Monday that residents of the island of Åland should no longer be exempt from military service, according to the Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun). Purra claimed that the exemption policy was linked to language issues. The Åland Islands are a predominantly Swedish-speaking region.

Justice Ministry Anna Maja Henriksson (SPP), whose portfolio also covers Åland affairs, told the newspaper that the change in the security environment was not a reason to review conscription.

She added that Finland’s potential NATO membership would not change Åland’s demilitarized status.

The media reported on Monday the Speaker of Parliament Matti Vanhanen (Cen) saying he hoped Åland would take the initiative to deploy Finnish troops to the province.

The League of Nations granted Finland sovereignty over Åland in 1921. The island municipalities had requested reunification with Sweden at the time of Finnish independence in 1917. As a compromise, Finland agreed to grant self-government to the people.

Åland was demilitarized after the Crimean War in 1856. The Treaty of Paris concluded that year stipulates that there can be no military presence on the island, but Finnish border guards operate stations there.

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ghost apartments

Property prices in Helsinki have seen the fastest growth in 10 years, but high prices in inner-city neighborhoods aren’t stopping wealthy buyers from buying second homes in the capital, the daily reports Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

“These are opera apartments,” Juhana Brotherus, chief economist at mortgage lender Hypo, told HS. The term refers to holiday homes used to explore the cultural places of the capital.

This trend means there is an increasing number of empty apartments, according to HS. More than 15,000 apartments in the central districts of Helsinki are unoccupied, representing 11% of the housing stock in the inner city districts. In Kluuvi, near the central station, almost 40% of apartments are vacant.

Chinese VE

The BYD T3 is a compact electric van said to offer ranges of up to 310 km on a single charge, depending on speed and conditions.

The van costs just under 50,000 euros, according to KL.

Electric vehicles have been in high demand this spring, with buyers having to wait up to six months for a car. The shortage of supply has led many Finnish customers to order electric vehicles without seeing them.

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