Intense exchanges as Parliament debates Finland’s future in EU
Debate in Parliament continued late into the evening. In addition to the the issues raised in the interpellation, in which the Parliament's confidence in the government is measured, MPs voiced views on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which Parliament will soon vote on.
Soini warned that the longer Finland stays in what he called a non-functioning currency area and takes part in the support package, the bigger the bill facing Finland will eventually be. He emphasised that Finland needs to promote its own interests.
“Is that selfish? Either way, we need to do it, because it is the only sensible and fair option”, Soini said. In his view there is nobody in the government with the courage to “stop this insanity”.
He also questioned assurances from Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen (SDP) that Finland would insist on getting collateral for its loan guarantees.
“If we give money, we will demand collateral, she says. But what is collateral? Will we get a stuffed penguin?”
Finance Minister Urpilainen speculated that the Finns Party wants to take Finland out of the euro, but are afraid to say it in so many words because a majority of the Finnish people are against it.
Urpilainen called on Timo Soini to spell out the implications of such a decision.
“You throw illusions into the air: Finland is a member of the euro, but would tell the other countries that it is not taking part in lending money to Europe. You know that this is not an option”, Urpilainen said to Soini.
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (Nat. Coalition Party) said that Finland is trying to prevent Spain from falling, while the Finns Party feels that this is not even worth trying. Katainen compared the situation to the financial crisis of 2008 when the Lehman Brothers bank fell in the United States.
“We lost tax revenues even though it was an American bank on the other side of the ocean. If Spain were to fall, what would happen to a few other countries, and what would happen to the euro?”
Katainen warned against trying to make Finns believe that there would be no consequences from “knocking over the chessboard”.