Urpilainen: permanent crisis mechanism better for Finland
Minister of Finance Jutta Urpilainen (SDP) feels that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which starts in July, will be a better crisis management tool than the present temporary facility.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Urpilainen said that the ESM will give better protection to taxpayers’ money, which is why Finland has favoured its fast implementation.
On Thursday Parliament began debate on the treaty establishing the ESM and on the new Finnish legislation that it requires.
Concerns were voiced by Pertti Salolainen (Nat. Coalition Party), as well as other MPs over what would happen if Spain were to need support from other member states before the ESM is launched.
Timo Soini (Finns Party) predicted that the ESM is being rushed through specifically in order to accommodate Spain.
Urpilainen sees Spain’s problem to be its strong regional autonomy, which does not necessarily observe the decisions of the country’s Parliament. “So far the Spanish government has been unanimous in saying that it will not need help”, Urpilainen said.
MPs of the two opposition parties, the Centre Party and the Finns Party, struck at what was seen as the weak part of the treaty from Finland’s point of view – the so-called emergency procedure in which the needs of small member states can be ignored.
In the ESM decisions are to be made by consensus, but if the existence of the eurozone is seen to be in jeopardy, decisions can be made by an 85 per cent qualified majority. Urpilainen said that there is a high threshold for the implementation of the emergency procedure.
Timo Soini said that a decision on an emergency would be made by the Commission and the European Central Bank, neither of which are elected bodies.
Urpilainen said that the ESM would have a governing council comprising the ministers of finance of the member states.
“You, MP Soini, can vote for a person making decisions in the permanent stability mechanism. I am such a person”, Urpilainen said, adding that increasing the capital assets of the ESM would require the unanimous consent of the member countries.
“It is not possible for Finland to get more liability for financing against our will. In addition, all lending programmes coming through the stability mechanism will come before Parliament for a decision”, Urpilainen said.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finland sticks to consensus demand at euro summit (9.12.2011)
Finland prevails in ESM decision-making dispute (24.1.2012)
Solution in sight to European Stability Mechanism dispute (19.1.2012)
Government and opposition agree: no more Finnish guarantees to EFSF (18.1.2012)