Prime Minister Sanna Marin at a press conference in Helsinki last week (Image: Lehtikuva)

News in brief

PRIME MINISTER SANNA MARIN WAS PART OF A TENSE EXCHANGE with the Spanish Prime Minister over the use of EU funds during this weekend's coronavirus recovery talks, according to a report in the British newspaper the Financial Times (paywall). 

Insider sources who were present during the talks, which resulted in the agreement of a €750 billion economic stimulus package for EU member states, claimed that comments from Marin caused concerns that the entire negotiations would end in failure. 

The alleged incident occurred on Sunday evening during a group dinner among EU leaders. During the meal, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez had resumed previous demands that the "frugal" bloc, consisting of wealthy Northern European countries, further raise the level of grants on offer as part of EU emergency funds.

In response to this demand, Marin reportedly snapped at Sanchez, remarking that "we have leaders around this table who have moved from nothing to €350 billion. What did you do? We have moved. Now it's your turn". 

With this comment, it was clear that Finland has joined the "frugal four" countries that had previously been reluctant to increase post-pandemic funds for EU member states. Later in the evening, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel allegedly accused the frugal countries of acting like former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who had taken a hardline against EU spending throughout his time in office. 


Adam Oliver Smith - HT

Image Credit: Lehtikuva