Retirement Plans for Elderly Unemployed and How to Spend the Summer the Finnish Way

Finland, 19 Aug - 15 Sep 2016
Governmental proposal to let ageing job seekers retire finds approval across party lines ++ Finnish outdoor activity mölkky gains popularity around the world – France wins world championship ++ Violent summer storm hits Finland.
by Anne-Kristin Beinhauer
Governmental proposal to let ageing job seekers retire finds approval across party lines

The proposal of the Finnish government to let ageing job seekers retire prematurely, has provoked very positive reactions across party lines. The idea is to give over 60-year-old long-term unemployed the possibility to retire, due to their limited employment prospects. The Minister of Justice and Employment, Jari Lindström, refers to the proposal as an „honourable act“, taking into consideration that even enhanced measures have not sufficed to reintegrate those elderly job seekers into the job market.

Sampo Terho, chairman of the co-governing Finns Party Parliamentary Group, points out that the measure would not even be expensive. The estimated costs are 20-30 million euros. Especially the members of the oppositional Social Democratic Parliamentary Group (SDP) are pleased. Antti Lindtman, the party’s chairman, stated “I'm very pleased that people are no longer forced to wait in lines at [employment] service counters.” Also the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions has welcomed the proposal. Already in 2005, thanks to a similar legislative measure, about 4,000 over 57-year-old long-term unemployed had been allowed to retire.

Finnish outdoor activity mölkky gains popularity around the world – France wins world championship

Mölkky, a Finnish throwing game invented by the company Tuoterengas in 1996 in reminiscence of kyykkä, a centuries-old throwing game from the region of Karelia in Northern Finland, has fascinated thousands of people around the world in recent years. The rise of the popularity of mölkky could be seen especially in this years’ world championship: 1,300 players from 14 different countries have participated. At the tournament in Brittany, a region in the north-west of France, the host nation could celebrate a triple victory.

The game consists of 12 wooden pins with numbers from 1 to 12 and a throwing pin, better known as mölkky. The numbered pins are placed upright and close together in a billiard-like starting position some metres away from the players. Then the players throw the mölkky at the pins to score points. The point system is simple: if more than one pin is hit by the mölkky, the numbers of the fallen pins are counted. However, only the pins which have fallen completely and don’t touch each other are counted. Not hitting any pin is counted as a foul, which leads to disqualification if happening three times in a row. The goal of the game is to achieve the exact score of 50 points. Achieving more than 50 points leads to a reset of the respective player’s score. After each throw the pins are rearranged in an upright position right where they landed. Then, it is the next players turn.

If the players are asked what makes the Finnish game so popular, they often reply that it’s fun, cheap and ecological and that it’s an outdoor activity which is basically suitable for everyone.

Violent summer storm hits Finland

The summer storm Rauli has caused lots of damage in several parts of Finland. Experts refer to the storm as quite unusual: being a summer storm it surprised not only by spreading wide over the country but also because of its rather long duration. Jari Tuovinen, a metereologist, reports that compared with former summer storms Rauli rates amongst the Top 5.

Especially the southern and central regions of Finland have been affected. Due to falling trees, the public transport system broke down simultaneously in several places. A substitution with busses was not always possible, as many streets had been blocked, too. More than 200,000 people remained without electricity temporarily.

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