THE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW Committee on Tuesday ruled that the European Union’s 750-billion-euro recovery and resilience instrument must be backed by a two-thirds majority rather than a simple majority in the Finnish Parliament, reports Helsingin Sanomat.
The committee issued its ruling after weighing up whether participation in the instrument signals a significant transfer of power to the 27-country from the viewpoint of the sovereignty of Finland.
Its ruling indicates that it does, although it uncharacteristically failed to reach a unanimous decision on the issue, with nine of its members voting for and eight against the tougher majority requirement. Centre Party members in the committee voted alongside opposition members for a two-thirds majority, while the members of other ruling parties voted against it, attaching a dissenting opinion to the ruling.
“I feel like we’re dealing with such a massive shift of authority from a member state to the union that widespread support is needed for a package like this,” Mikko Kinnunen (Centre), a member of the Constitutional Law Committee, explained to Helsingin Sanomat.
“It simultaneously sends a strong message to the European Union that this should really be a one-off package.”
The ruling was a blow to the government, even though it is still likely the instrument will receive the requisite support from lawmakers. The National Coalition on Tuesday announced it will collectively vote blank on the issue, reducing the number of votes required for a two-thirds majority. Antti Kurvinen, the chairperson of the Centre Parliamentary Group, told STT that the party will support the instrument in the session hall.
The recovery instrument has come under criticism especially from the Finns Party and Christian Democrats.
All EU member states have to ratify the so-called own resources decision at the national level to enable the 27-country block to take out a loan to set up the facility. Finland finds itself in a critical position after the committee ruling, as the ensuing parliamentary vote could collapse both the recovery instrument and the multi-annual budget of the EU.
Antti Rinne (SDP), the chairperson of the Constitutional Law Committee, on Tuesday denied that the inability to make a unanimous decision on the matter reflects the politicisation of the issue, arguing that both conclusions could be drawn based on a judicial assessment.
“I want to believe this was made based on judicial assessments,” he said.
“This thing collapsing would be a catastrophe. And if it collapsed due to lack of support from the Centre or National Coalition, I think it’d lead to a very unfortunate situation where you’d have to raise questions about irresponsibility,” he commented earlier yesterday, before the two parties had clarified their stance.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT