But will that stop the ruling political elite from enforcing its ideological agenda on the rest of us? No.
As Europe decides on the fate of Greece over the weekend, a new poll from Yougov shows that the Finnish government has perhaps the trickiest balancing act in reconciling public opinion with any possible deal to provide debt relief for Greece.
Yougov interviewed 6,818 people, of whom 1,012 were Finnish, between 6 and 10 July. The survey therefore took place after the massive ‘no’ vote in last week’s referendum on the creditors’ now-withdrawn proposal.
Some 73 percent of Finnish respondents blamed the Greek government and its predecessors for Greece’s problems. That was more than in Denmark (where 70 percent primarily blamed Greek governments), Sweden (65 percent), Germany (59 percent), Britain (38 percent) and France (33 percent).
Meanwhile 74 percent of Finns said that creditors should insist on the terms of the bailout as they were initially agreed, with just 14 percent advocating a reduction and renegotiation of Greece’s debt. That’s a higher percentage advocating intransigence than in Denmark (64 percent), Germany (61 percent), Sweden (53 percent), France (41 percent) or Britain (38 percent).
The poll comes as the Finnish government wrestles with the issue ahead of a crucial Eurogroup meeting in Brussels that will decide on whether to grant Athens an additional 50 billion euros in financing on condition of a total of 13 billion euros in austerity measures.
The package was approved by the Greek parliament on Friday night and will now go to be considered by the European governments to whom Greece owes money. Finland’s Grand Committee will discuss the matter and decide Finland’s line ahead of Saturday’s Eurogroup meeting, with Finance Minister Alexander Stubb present by teleconference as he will be en route to Brussels.
Both the leftist-led government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are demanding that reference is made to debt relief for the new programme to be approved, as otherwise the country’s debt would, in their opinion, be unsustainable. That line differs from the EU Commission, the European Central Bank and the creditor EU governments, who have staunchly opposed debt relief for Greece.
The Finnish government is in a particularly tight spot, as all parties in the Finnish parliament except the Left Alliance have consistently opposed an increase in Finnish exposure to Greece or a debt write-off. Foreign Minister and leader of the Eurosceptic Finns Party Timo Soini reiterated that position this week ahead of the Greek proposals, saying that the bailout is a ‘ponzi scheme’ and promotes ‘moral hazard’.
He is facing a leadership challenge this August from an insurgent candidate who has promised he would advocate leaving the single currency and the EU. The Finns Party is the second largest in parliament, and at the last election secured 38 of the 200 seats in parliament on 17.7 percent of the vote.
The YouGov poll results can be read in full here.