EU stimulus package needs two-thirds-majority approval from Finnish parliament

The committee’s decision, which was decided by a margin of one vote (9-8), means that the EU’s recovery package would need the approval of two-thirds of Finnish MPs sitting in parliament, including from those sitting in the opposition. [Shutterstock/Telia]

After much deliberation, Finland’s Constitutional Law Committee ruled on Tuesday that because of constitutional implications the EU’s €750 billion COVID-19 stimulus package requires a two-thirds majority in the Finnish parliament.

The committee’s decision, which was decided by a margin of one vote (9-8), means that the EU’s recovery package would need the approval of two-thirds of Finnish MPs sitting in parliament, including from those sitting in the opposition.

The package has gathered a lot of criticism mostly from fiscally-conservative opposition parties, the nationalist Finns Party and Christian Democrats, arguing that it could open the door for other such mechanisms. The opposition also criticised the fact that Finland would receive €2.9 billion as part of the package, but would have to pay back €6.6 million by 2058. 

The pro-European National Coalition Party (NCP) – the third party in opposition – announced on Tuesday evening that it would abstain to secure the package’s approval.

According to NCP chairperson, Petteri Orpo, the decision was far from easy. The NCP does not approve the “badly negotiated” package, but does not want to “cause chaos” in Europe and damage Finland’s reputation and risk the country’s influence in the future. The package requires unanimous approval from all member states.

The likely passing of the stimulus package in parliament was the only good news from the week-long government sit-in. Agreement on future economic policy has not been reached and the future of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s five-party coalition remains uncertain.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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