Kai Mykkänen (left) and Petteri Orpo of the National Coalition on Thursday spoke to reporters after the opposition party’s parliamentary group had convened to discuss the recovery facility of the European Union. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE NATIONAL COALITION Parliamentary Group has rescinded its decision to recommend that its members vote blank on the 750-billion-euro recovery and resilience facility of the European Union.

With most members of the parliamentary group reportedly ready to support the facility, the rescindment should secure the facility the requisite two-thirds backing in the Finnish Parliament.

“The National Coalition Parliamentary Group will rescind its decision on voting blank in this changed circumstance. We members of the group share an understanding that a functioning EU is the cornerstone of security and well-being in Finland,” commented Kai Mykkänen, the chairperson of the National Coalition Parliamentary Group.

The group made its decision partly because of a statement issued on the facility by the Parliament’s Finance Committee.

Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, on Thursday expressed his satisfaction with sections of the statement, namely that stipulating that each member be responsible for its own debts and that describing the facility as an unusual and one-off solution.

“The outcome negotiated by the government had some bad casting defects,” argued Mykkänen. “We were between a rock and a hard place faced with two bad decisions. Now these casting defects have been alleviated by the strong-willed statements that will be submitted to the Parliament as part of the Finance Committee’s statement.”

Some members of the parliamentary group will nonetheless vote against the facility, he confirmed.

Janne Heikkinen (NCP) on Thursday told Helsingin Sanomat that he intends to vote against the facility on grounds that it increases joint liability and undermines the rules-based nature of the 27-country bloc.

“The problem is the package, not what kind of policies will be devised based on these statements going forward,” he stated to the newspaper. “I don’t like that we’re bending the rules as much as this. It raises the question, which rules will we bend next? That President Sauli Niinistö has voiced the same concerns as I has received too little attention: before long, we’ll end up not knowing ourselves what kind of a system we’re part of, if it lives by interpretations rather than agreements.”

The so-called own resources decision will be opposed by the three other opposition parties – the Christian Democrats, Finns Party and Movement Now – as well as some members of the Centre Party.

Orpo on Thursday underlined that the votes against should not be interpreted as opposition to the bloc itself.

“Not one member of the group wants to question Finland’s EU membership or the National Coalition’s pro-EU position. The dissenting views are specifically about this package,” he clarified according to YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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