Tuesday’s papers: More on tax havens, media coverage of immigration and errant education funding
Apart from tracking the fortunes of Finns battling for Olympic greatness in Sochi, Tuesday’s news headlines also looked at domestic themes. Among them official concerns about Estonia as a possible tax haven for Finnish firms, a comparison of media coverage of immigration in Finland and the Netherlands and education funding missing its targets in the southwest.
Finland’s largest circulation daily Helsingin Sanomat headlines concerns by Finnish tax authorities that companies setting up operations in neighbouring Estonia may be engaging in a form of tax evasion.
In a report on the so-called grey economy covering 2006 to 2012, the Finnish Tax Administration (Verohallinto) noted that nearly a quarter of companies registered in Estonia – some 27,000 enterprises — listed Finns or Finnish business identification numbers in positions of responsibility.
HS quotes Janne Marttinen of the tax authority as saying that the report showed that operating in Estonia was one aspect of enabling the grey economy. He added that companies often used their registration in Estonia avoid the obligatory employer payments required in Finland.
The daily noted that another reason for Estonia’s popularity among the entrepreneurial crowd appeared to be its lower corporate tax rate.
Immigration coverage in Finland and the Netherlands
Hailing from Tampere, the print version of the daily Aamulehti highlights a local report about a hard-fought decision by municipal heads to construct a new waste water treatment plant. After a lengthy discussion, it emerged that councilors voted to locate the plant in the Sulkavuori district. The paper reports however that a final decision may be deferred to 2017.
Aaumlehti’s online paper adopts a wider perspective to look at doctoral research on how dailies and periodicals in Finland and the Netherlands covered debate on immigration between 2003 and 2006.
The paper by Reeta Pöyhtäri selected Finland and the Netherlands because of their different immigration experiences: immigration has been a central part of the Dutch experience for centuries, while the phenomenon is still new to many Finns, as the first immigrants beached here in the 1990s.
The dissertation noted that one factor uniting media coverage of immigrants in both countries was the tendency to portray immigrants as a close-knit and uniform community. Nationals of both countries meanwhile, tended to be open only to immigrants and ethnic minorities that exhibited the greatest similarities with the country’s “native” communities.
Central government funding misses education targets
Turun Sanomat’s print paper leads off with a report that 2.1 million euros in central government subventions meant for educational programmes in the southwestern city did not reached their targets last year.
The daily cites as an example 1.4 million euros earmarked for educational projects as part of the government’s “Youth Guarantee” (Nuorisotakuu) programme, which never reached its mark.
Government financial support was paid directly to the city’s central management, but was used to finance general municipal operations. Turun Sanomat quotes city budget manager Heikki Silpola as saying that the city did not have sufficient resources to transfer the funds to the intended programmes.