German chancellor Angela Merkel: when her own phones were tapped, she said, “Spying on friends is just not on.” Photograph: Roni Rekomaa/AFP/Getty Images

When confronted with Edward Snowden’s allegations of US National Security Agency mass surveillance of European citizens, EU institutions, and even on(...)

Former SS officer Oskar Gröing sits outside during a break of his trial. The 93-year-old  did not contribute directly to killings but “gave the Nazi regime an economic boost” to continue its murderous campaign, the court heard. Photograph: Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images

As Auschwitz arrivals drew their last breaths in gas chambers, the 21 year-old SS officer Oskar Gröning plundered their suitcases for valuables.Yeste(...)

‘The argument over putting nonagenarians on trial overlooks one group who will never stand trial over the Holocaust: the lawyers, civil servants and politicians in the two post-war German states who worked assiduously to prevent such trials ever taking place.’ Above, defendant Oskar Gröning(right) leaves the court after the first day of his trial in Lueneburg April 21st, 2015. Photograph: Reuters/Fabian Bimmer

On a bright and cold morning in January, shortly before the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I found myself walking around the death c(...)

The chairman of the National Coalition Party Alexander Stubb speaking during a news conference at the party’s office in Helsinki yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva

As a self-made millionaire, Finland’s Juha Sipilä knows a thing or two about success in business. After leading his Centre Party to victory in Sunday(...)

Helsinki department store Stockmann is facing an existential crisis. The 5.5 million Finns aren’t spending. Photograph: EPA/Mauritz Antin

Walk around the Finnish capital and you see shops and customers are as cool as Stockholm, if less showy. Yet the atmosphere on the streets of Helsi(...)

Finnish Centre Party leader and likely next prime minister Juha Sipilä poses for a photograph with passersby in Helsinki while campaigning for Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Photograph: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/AFP/Getty Images

If selfies were votes, Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb would sail back into office after Sunday’s general election. But as it stands, his Natio(...)

Timo Soini of the True Finns party: kept his party in opposition in 2011 rather than compromise and back Greek bailouts in power. Photograph: Martti Kainulainen/Lehtikuva

Even by the informal standards of Finnish politics, the bearish politician Timo Soini is an amiable and approachable figure.Four years ago, the man si(...)

Sanctions and oil-price hit Russians buy caviar at Disas supermarket in Lappeenranta. Where once they bought fashion, those who come now are buying groceries. Photograph: Derek Scally

Besides its stunning lakeside setting, a striking sight for visitors to the Finnish town of Lappeenranta is the road sign: 220km to Helsinki, 200km to(...)

A couple look at campaign posters in Helsinki of candidates in the Finnish parliamentary elections. Finns will go to the polls on April 19th. Photograph: Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva/Reuters

On a glorious sunny afternoon in Helsinki, Olli Rehn is bringing it all back home.The former EU commissioner is Finland’s best-known political export,(...)

Nobel prize-winning German writer Gunter Grass attends a news conference to promote his latest book “Peeling the onion” in Madrid in 2007. Grass died on April 13, 2015. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters 1:25

Germany’s celebrated and controversial Nobel Prize-winning author Günter Grass has died aged 87.His 1959 debut novel ‘The Tin Drum’ established Mr Gra(...)