Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen (SDP) says that Finnish Members of Parliament had access to accurate information when they recently gave their approval to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) as a vehicle to provide emergency credit to overly indebted countries in the eurozone.
Speaking at the summer meeting of the Social Democratic Party in Savonlinna on Wednesday, Urpilainen said that anyone who reads the text of the law and the information that it contains should have an understanding of what it is about.
She made no further comment about the controversy that had been raised over the matter.
Parliament’s decision on the ESM sparked a furore in July when the eurozone countries decided that the loan to shore up banks in Spain would not take priority over receivables from other creditors. At the time Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, said that in the future, the primacy of ESM loans would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
By that time Parliament had already decided to approve the ESM agreement, and there were charges from opposition MPs that Parliament had been the impression that the ESM’s receivables would take priority.
There was a mention in the preamble of the agreement on such a priority status, but not in the text itself, and during Parliamentary debate the government emphasised primacy as a positive aspect of the mechanism.
Several MPs expressed shock over the new turn of events. Timo Soini (Finns Party) said that he had been "misled".
"I simply do not understand [them]. I feel that this is more a matter of politics", Urpilainen says. "If it is decided for some reason that the loans do not take priority, then Finland will demand guarantees."