Finnland's populists flirt with EU referendum

Several MPs for the Finns Party, previously the True Finns, have called for a referendum on whether the country should remain in the EU. Officially, however, as a member of the ruling coalition the party supports the country's EU policy. Commentators criticise this dual stance and point out that Finland can't afford to leave the EU.

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Hämeen Sanomat (FI) /

Governing party acting like opposition

As part of the ruling coalition the Finns Party should not resort to the tricks of an opposition party to win votes, Hämeen Sanomat comments angrily:

“It's easy to guess where the Finns' flirtation with exiting the EU has come from. As part of the government the party has committed to EU membership, under the constitution Finland is an EU member state and the Finns' popularity rates have nosedived in comparison to their results in the parliamentary election for many reasons. … Are the demands for the country to exit the EU a typical opposition party trick with which the ruling party hopes to take the lead once more? Criticism of Greece, of immigrants and of the EU doesn't seem to make much of an impact anymore. … The opposition, quite rightly, is surprised at the party's double-track strategy. Within the government it sticks to the government programme but in 'private' many of the party's MPs have a totally different agenda.”

Etelä-Suomen Sanoma (FI) /

Finland is not Britain

For the good of the counry Timo Soini must bring his party to heel, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat demands:

“The Finns Party MPs seem to be having terrible difficulties supporting the government's course on this issue. That is understandable, after all criticism of the EU was decisive for the formation of the party. … But for the government the Finns Party's desire for a referendum is unacceptable. As a ruling party the Finns committed to supporting Finland's official EU policy. … All eyes are on party leader Soini now. He must come to his senses and get his team under control. The MPs of the Finns Party could use the summer holidays to study the differences between the UK and Finland. A European financial and economic heavyweight like Britain can survive outside the EU, but for Finland this would be disastrous.”