Finland Finnish Politics


Personally, I couldn’t care less about the disparaging remarks I’ve heard about him in the past, he’s one of the lone politicians back in the 1990’s who openly warned about joining the EU, let alone the Euro, and consistently puts Finland first. That makes him far more likeable than the rest.

I personally met the man in Central Finland while he was stumping for one of the Center Party’s new candidates for the European Parliament, Riikka Manner (she made it in), where I forced the subject of the lack of real representative democracy within the EU, and the need to leave it.

It’s a rare day when you can get a couple of politicians to speak straight, going on the record as being against the Lisbon treaty/EU constitution. As a matter of fact, Väyrynen was very emphatic about the gross lack of accountability within the EU, and when he mentioned that he was one of few MP’s in the Finnish parliament to vote against the ratification of the EU treaty

I’m still glad that he’s keeping the issue alive, no matter how much he’s derided and laughed at, he’s got far more courage and sense of morality and ethics than any of his detractors combined. He puts Finland (the people) first.

Sponsor of euro exit citizen’s initiative backs down on referendum route

Veteran politico Paavo Väyrynen says he doesn’t support the idea of a referendum on leaving the eurozone. Väyrynen, who is the main man behind a citizen’s initiative calling for a referendum on Finland’s eurozone membership, now says that a direct vote would be too time-consuming. Instead, he’s advocating the same top-down method used when Finland joined the euro back in 1998.

Paavo Väyrynen
Paavo Väyrynen Image: Yle

Centre Party MEP Paavo Väyrynen wants a faster approach to exiting the eurozone than a national referendum. The seasoned politician says government should present a statement to MPs supporting leaving the common currency region, in much the same way it argued for joining back in 1998.

The citizen’s initiative aimed at organising a referendum on Finland’s euro membership closed on Saturday, but not before it had gathered more than the 50,000 signatures required to take it to the Parliament for consideration by MPs.

Senior Centre Party politician Paavo Väyrynen was the engine behind the motion, which charges that ordinary Finns were deprived of a chance to decide whether or not they wanted to adopt the single currency. Now, however, he says he doesn’t support the idea of a referendum.

“A referendum could take years. We don’t have any time to waste now that the economy is in such bad shape and the euro area is rapidly becoming a debt union and a federal union,” Väyrynen said.

Although the wording of the citizen’s initiative suggests that its purpose is to organise a referendum, Väyrynen said that in his view that is not the case.

“The main purpose of the initiative is for Finland to leave the euro area,” he declared.

Referendum after exit if Finland wants back in

According to Väyrynen, given the fact that a referendum would last too long, the process should work in the same way as it did back in 1998, when the government provided a statement to lawmakers on the matter.

This time, however the government’s statement would take the opposite position, and outline the case for exiting the single currency union.

“Now the statement should be based on leaving the euro area and if later on we wanted to join the euro again, then we should organise a referendum,” Väyrynen outlined.

Väyrynen: Measure probably won’t go through

According to the long-serving politician, introducing a referendum would also be burdensome because it would require legislative changes. However he acknowledged that the faster procedure, the government statement, is also an unlikely outcome.

His colleagues in the Centre Party, including Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, have not indicated any public support for the euro exit proposal and are hardly likely to table a euro exit statement. It is also improbable that other MPs would support such a motion even if it were brought to Parliament.

“There wouldn’t be the required majority in Parliament,” he admitted.

Väyrynen to take the stage in hearings

Väyrynen, who was elected to the Parliament during general elections last spring, is currently based in Brussels where he is a Member of the European Parliament. He still has the option of returning to take up his seat among other Finnish lawmakers. However he said he won’t do so.

He said that an initiative sponsored by an ordinary citizen generally fares far better than one set in motion by a parliamentarian. Initiatives that make it to the Parliament have to survive a tougher mechanism than the will of the people.

“Apparently there will be several committee hearings about the citizen’s initiative, in which I will have the opportunity to speak. I will have the chance to speak as an expert. After this, one or more committees will deal with the motion and of course at that stage experts will be heard,” Väyrynen remarked.


NOTE: To those Finns who may disagree with me, let me remind you that without a functioning national parliament dedicated solely to Finnish aspirations and sovereignty, everything else is pure window dressing.

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