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Yearbook 1998

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.

1998 Finland

1998 FinlandAccording to Countryaah, 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.

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