NATURALLY, it is in a country’s best interests not to make it too easy to obtain citizenship, while any system for evaluating prospective citizens will of course have its supporters and detractors. Recent vague suggestions hinting at the possible introduction of a citizenship test in Finland has raised the profile of this issue in the media, and has made many ponder at what point Finnish nationality should be granted to a foreigner.

According to Statistics Finland, 3,400 foreign citizens permanently resident in this country received Finnish citizenship in 2009. This figure was 3,250 less than in 2008, although the numbers in 2008 were themselves particularly high. By far the largest group of foreign nationals receiving said nationality were Russians followed by Somalis, Iraqis and Afghanis. From within Europe between 100 and 200 Estonians, Serbs and Swedes received a Finnish citizenship.

As the world food market continues to wobble after the 2007-2008 global food crisis, just what has become of the simple supply and demand theory of production?

THE NEXT time that you are seated at a restaurant and don’t manage to consume all of your meal, spare a thought for the distance your food has traveled – along with the much shorter distance it will now travel to the bin.

It is currently estimated that between 25-50 per cent of all food is wasted between the producer and the consumer. With this in mind consider the fact that 925 million people worldwide are suffering from chronic hunger. The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO) confirmed that...

International surveys regularly suggest Finland is one of the best countries to live in, but does that mean we are happy?

SOMETIMES it seems that the only ones who ever say anything bad about Finland are the Finns themselves. After years of sharing honours with our Nordic neighbours, Newsweek’s recent investigation into the world’s best countries concluded that Finland is number one. The American magazine posed the question: “If you were born today, which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous, and upwardly mobile life?” Using criteria such as inequality, poverty, environmental factors, and productive growth, it was deduced that Suomi is as close to the Promised Land as you can currently get.

Finland talks about immigrants as if we were not in the room. We have become bystanders in a discussion concerning us.

WE are a nation of more than 200 million people. We are young and old, children and adults. We are held by no borders. We go to the furthest places on earth, taking risks and leaving loved ones behind, to reach for our dreams. We are strong, but amongst the weakest. We are discriminated against and some of us have no rights. Most of us feel unwelcomed, maltreated, abused. When things go wrong, we are among the first to be blamed for it.

Aiming to turn a monologue into a dialogue, the ipf can revolutionise how immigrants participate in their new homelands.

Discussions about immigration are running hot in Finland, and it will be a major topic in the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2011. Finnish political parties have had some immigrant candidates, but none has been elected to parliament so far. Now a new initiative aims to build immigrants their own parliament. A long period of planning has turned into action and a group of influential immigrants have joined forces to make it happen. Alexis Kouros, Umayya Abu-Hanna, Ahmed Akar, Jeremy Gould, Mustafa Gürler, Eilina Gusatinsky and Mulki Mölsä ...