Editorial There is a cold ride ahead in January – and it doesn’t seem to be easy until the end of the year

The year changes in a confusing mood. Immediately after the turn of the year, the peak of the coronavirus epidemic, the labor market fighting, the regional elections and the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine are expected.

Coronavirus epidemic it was hoped that the vaccinations would be completed by the end of last year, but the opposite was the case. With the omicron transformation, the infection rates turned to almost vertical growth. The need for medical care has not yet followed suit. It will have to be tense for another week or two, but there is hope that even two vaccines will effectively crank out a serious form of the disease.

If omikron sweeps the entire population through the current pace, the epidemic wave will also be over relatively quickly. However, the modification has shown that new forms of coronavirus that evade immunity may emerge. The disease will remain with us, and we may get it many times in the years and decades to come. So long-term plans for how to live with the virus are needed.

Epidemic When managing headlines and human minds other things it is difficult to get attention. This is especially true of the regional elections that are three weeks away. Low electoral enthusiasm does not bode well for turnout, which gives a bad start to regional councils in welfare areas. However, it is the responsibility of the councils to make the great goals of the SOTE reform a reality. Responsibility for social and health services and rescue operations will be transferred to the welfare areas at the beginning of 2023.

The regional elections will paralyze the policy of a kick-off for the spring, during which parties are already seeking setups for the spring 2023 parliamentary elections. The regional elections are of great importance, especially for the poorly successful center and the Greens in preliminary polls. If the result remains very poor, the pressure within the parties will increase.

The city center has repeatedly threatened to leave the government unless an agreement is reached on financial discipline. The spring roundtable, where the government is facing difficult and cumbersome solutions, such as reimbursing Veikkaus’ money and deciding on climate action, and perhaps finding new extra money for those affected by the epidemic, may provide an opportunity for the march.

The center has been often a public partner in the dispute, but the quarrel seems to have worsened the support of both parties. In the spring, the Greens will seek a new impetus from player exchanges: during Maria Ohisalo’s parental leave, the party will be led by MP Iiris Suomela, and MP Emma Kari, who has been raised to the top five, will open the board.

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A full-headed government is already being built in the opposition. The Coalition Party, led by Petteri Orpo, is at the forefront of the polls. At the moment, the big question seems to be whether the next government will be formed with the Social Democrats or the basic Finns.

Bridges should be built with the Social Democrats in economic policy, with basic Finns in value policy – after all, the government’s co-operation with the Karhta last differed in the “values ​​base related to humanity”. The instrumental dances of the right – wing parties, which have already got off to a good start, will certainly continue in 2022.

The presidential election, which is more than two years away, gives its own extra twist to politics. The hopefuls don’t need to get to the top yet, but they should already get to the peso. Therefore, it is expected that those who see the future president in their mirrors will increasingly reveal their favorite songs, sports hobbies and other nice things to the people.

In the labor market the new year begins in a similar mood as this year ends: threats of industrial action are everywhere. The objects of the dispute may be small, such as the work dispute of the sawmill company Keitele Group, but once the trade union movement has deployed its heaviest weapons, small disputes can suddenly escalate into struggles for existence.

The labor market cycle has been slow. The Confederation of Finnish Industry’s contract for employees in the technology industry expired at the turn of November – December, but no new ones have been signed. This is causing problems in the queue ahead, as the agreement in the technology sector has been used to provide guidance for wage increases in other sectors.

When private industries get contracts, it’s time for other industries. In the private service sectors, such as restaurants and tourism, contracts were extended as early as the end of 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic. In the field of trade, the current agreements will also be in force until the end of January next year.

The next big dawn will be the agreements between the public sector, ie the state, municipalities and associations of municipalities, and the sote areas planned for the beginning of 2023.

In municipal wage negotiations, attention is paid to the remuneration of social and health care personnel. A large majority of voters would be willing to improve carers ’salaries, as would a majority in parliament. In addition to the social services sector, early childhood education, ie kindergartens, also suffers from labor shortages. The difficulty in the municipal sector, however, is that if you give to one, you usually have to give to everyone, and you can’t find the money for it.

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In the field of politics the year is important in France and the United States, for example. France will take over the EU presidency from the beginning of the year. Not much will be done in six months, but France is likely to ensure that the Union continues to turn in a pleasant direction for France. There are known policies that have not traditionally pleased Finland. There will be no return to the same economic discipline rules as before, and competition and industrial policy will change: instead of protecting the consumer, the Union will begin to protect more European companies from external competition.

The glory to be gained from EU policy is now particularly important to President Emmanuel Macron, who is seeking a five-year extension in the April presidential election. A sequel is possible, although Macron is getting tough challengers from the right.

In the United States, Democrat reform projects have been headwind. The situation could become even more difficult after the by-elections in early November if Republicans take over the majority in Congress, as polls now show. Abortion may become an election joker if the Supreme Court, in its decision expected for the summer, takes a stand against those who restrict the right to abortion.

So ghostly as it seems, Europe is in danger of a major war as Russia concentrates its forces near Ukraine’s borders and imposes strict conditions on the West. In practice, Russia is demanding a change in the current security architecture throughout Europe and a recognized interest in itself.

The conditions imposed on the United States are those that the West cannot agree to, as Russia knows. Indeed, the West has speculated whether it is an excuse for an attack that has already ended, or a negotiation tactic that requires a lot to get even something.

Russia has persuaded the United States to agree to a negotiating table, although the United States has stressed that it is not in agreement with Russia or any other country with Russia. U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet in January. The negotiations are also being closely monitored in Finland, as Russia’s demand that NATO’s military association stop admitting new members also applies to Finland.

As a household giant China is seeking to further strengthen its position. It has the ambitious goal of first becoming as great a power as the United States and then past the United States. One competitive arena is a sport in which China will host the Winter Olympics in February unless the coronavirus returns from its world travels to its birthplace to confuse plans.

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China’s sense of power is reflected in President Xi Jinping’s self-empowerment and increasing sensitivity. China does not tolerate a debate on the treatment of Uighurs and Tibetans, for example, the softest word for which is “oppression”. China has been disciplined with a tough hand by China. China is increasing pressure near Taiwan and reacting angrily to any rapprochement between the West and Taiwan. There are plenty of means of blackmail on the country, as China is not only a “world factory” but also a huge market. The most significant power struggle has shifted to the Pacific, where it will also intensify this year.

Even in the world economy let’s go towards something new, albeit in an uncertain mood. In the coming year, the world will return to normal monetary policy. Normal monetary policy includes, for example, the fact that debt has a price and risks are being re-priced. This may come as a surprise to many households and governments, as much of the world has lived in a zero-interest world since the financial crisis. Debt has been taken for both good and bad purposes because it has paid nothing. The item can cost.

The monetary policy decisions of the major central banks are driven by accelerating inflation. The first quarter of the year is likely to provide evidence as to whether or not the reasons behind the acceleration in inflation are disappearing. If the price of energy begins to fall as expected and economic growth slows economic growth, central banks will not be in a fiery rush to raise policy rates.

There is also a lot going on in climate policy this year. The EU is pursuing major climate policies with real economic implications. In Finland, next year will be a significant year for domestic energy policy. The Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor has been built like St. Isaac’s Church, and the power plant will start generating electricity at full capacity in the summer. Finland will finally become self-sufficient in electricity production.

For those looking forward to good news, the year to come would seem very promising so far, but there are surprises for that. In recent years, a lot of surprises have been nasty, but you can’t be sure – that’s why they’re called surprises.

The editorials are HS’s statements on a topical issue. The writings are prepared by HS’s editorial staff and reflect the magazine principle.

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