Finnish minister wants EU exit referentum

Finland's Minister for European Affairs Sampo Terho, currently also chairman of the right-wing populist The Finns Party, has called for a referendum on the country's continued EU membership according to the British model. Not a good idea for various reasons, Finland's press concludes.

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Turun Sanomat (FI) /

Completely inappropriate conduct

Sampo Terhos' demand for an EU referendum is unacceptable, Turun Sanomat comments:

“It was a mistake of Terho to mix up his fight for the leadership of the Finns Party with his tasks as Minister for European Affairs. For this he has rightly been criticised by both the opposition and members of the government. There must be no lack of clarity regarding Finland's ties to the European Union - much less in times when the US is moving away from Europe and its values, Russia is continuing to weaken the security structures on the continent and the UK is negotiating its exit from the EU. … Naturally one can understand that Terho is under pressure after entering the race to become the party's leader as the favourite and then falling behind to the point where he is at most neck and neck with MEP Jussi Halla-aho.”

Etelä-Suomen Sanoma (FI) /

Proposal only spreading uncertainty

Terho's proposal could unsettle Finland's EU partners needlessly, Etelä-Sanomat fears:

“In view of the parties' positive attitude to the EU it's clear that even after future elections it will be impossible for the Finns Party to find coalition partners in favour of a referendum. So it was somewhat exaggerated for the opposition to call Terho a security risk in parliament. However, not all our European partners are familiar with our often complicated domestic politics. If in such difficult times in parliament we hear proposals for a referendum from the ministers' bench, it should come as no surprise when people abroad start questioning Finland's attitude to the EU.”