True Finns are right to oppose EU bailouts

General elections in Finland rarely secure much coverage across mainstream European media, but the results of – and fallout from – the poll earlier this month deserve detailed inspection. They may yet have substantial ramifications for the rest of the European Union, particularly on the increasingly fraught bailout strategy.

The surprise ‘winners’ of the April 17 poll were the True Finns party, a rather ragtag group with a mixture of socially conservative and economically left-wing policy objectives. They saw their parliamentary representation rocket from five to 39 seats in the 200 strong parliament.

The intriguing question is whether the True Finns’ staunch opposition to bailouts of eurozone countries in trouble will be enough to actually persuade the Finnish government to exercise veto powers in the weeks ahead. Very often, of course, smaller EU countries with an apparently radical agenda end up falling in line with the mainstream. For example, Vaclav Klaus, the Czech president, eventually signed the Lisbon Treaty in November 2009, despite his firmly eurosceptic views.

So the impact of the True Finns on the future of bailouts may yet turn out to be little more than rhetorical. But if they do start to exert real influence on this crucial area of policy, there will be a lot of free market liberals – hardly their most natural bedfellows – cheering them on.

Read the rest of the article on the Public Service Europe website.

Director General, IEA

Mark Littlewood is Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs and the IEA’s Ralph Harris Fellow. Mark has overseen significant growth in the IEA’s size, influence and media profile during his tenure, since 2009. Mark also sits on the Board of Big Brother Watch, a non-profit organisation fighting for the protection of privacy and civil liberties in the UK. Mark is recognised as a powerful, engaging and articulate spokesman for free markets. He is a much sought-after speaker at a range of events including university debates, industry conferences and public policy events. He also features as a regular guest on flagship political programmes such as BBC Question Time, Newsnight, Sky News and the Today Programme. He writes a regular column for The Times and features in many other print and broadcast media such as The Telegraph, City AM and Any Questions.