October 21, 2021

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In Finland, Helsinki wants to adopt English as the official language

In order to attract foreigners, the Finnish capital, Helsinki, proposes to make English one of the city’s official languages. (Heiki Co Oma Coma / Letigua)

City Mayor Juhana Wardienen stepped foot in the dish a few days ago. This material is beginning to cause controversy in Finland. The mayor actually proposes English is one of the languages ​​of the city Finnish, the official language of Finland, and Swedish, the neighboring language, are already recognized in Finland.

This means that throughout the capital Helsinki, i.e. a million and a half people, a quarter of the population of Finland, the command of English is sufficient, for example, to obtain some public employment. It also means that English must be used properly in some nurseries or in some schools. For Finns, this is not a revolution because 86% of them speak English. On the other hand, this provision makes it possible to recruit English-speaking foreigners.

Mayor Juhana Vardainen, Former director of an economic research firm. So he is well aware of this fact: Finland, especially its vibrant telecommunications and start-up sector, is facing a real recruitment problem. There is a shortage of experts like artificial intelligence. This is not a financial problem, it is a problem of not having qualified staff.

Foreigners do not want to stay in Finland. TO Instead, young Finns leave the country to look for work elsewhere in Europe, especially in London or Berlin. In addition, the population is aging. Last year, Town Hall launched a call for applications called the Helsinki Business Hub. The principle is simple: come with us and live for three months, you will see, you want to stay. Many Canadians, Americans, Britons, and Taiwanese stood as candidates. But very few were last.

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Some departures talked a lot in Finland, for example by a Mexican physicist Deborah Perbiches. To justify their departure, this foreign bureaucracy is so heavy, the taxation is so high that learning Finnish above all else is an impossible task. It is a difficult language, with many grammatical variations, and its mastery is required by many Finnish companies. So Helsinki Mayor’s idea: Let’s switch to English!

But this is not liked by everyone and the controversy is growing in recent days and is not necessarily from the Finns. It comes mainly from Swedes living in Finland: as a result of the chain, they fear that Swedish will be a co-victim of this reform, and will remain the official language in favor of English. The proposal of the mayor of Helsinki will now go to the national level. The Finnish government has so far been cautious in this regard.