Marcus Evans Group | Worldwide Headquarters | American Offices | Latin America | European Offices | African / Asian Offices

Finland’s pro-euro candidates set to win presidential election

Finns are approaching the EU as an institution with only upside advantages because the debts are all ringfenced in the south

The Finns are about to vote for a pro-euro president. The two front runners are in the pro-euro camp and, if they get through a vote on Sunday, will agree on this point in a run-off on 5 February.

Why are a majority of Finns in favour? According to second placed Green party candidate Pekka Haavisto: “This election is a competition between those who are in favour of a closed Finland and want to go back to our old national currency Markka, and those who are in favour of more international cooperation and… a more active role in the EU but also in the wider world.”

But it’s possible there is a whiff of economic self interest about the vote. The euro pact under discussion and due to be decided on 30 January will protect the rich north from the indebted south with a framework of strict rules. Reuters is reporting that Berlin has ordered the draft rules be toughened up to prevent any thought of deviation.

Should Italy, Portugal et al sign up their citizens will become indentured slaves to the north and will spend the foreseeable future repaying loans to the European Central Bank. By 2013 these loans could top €2tn.(£1.7tn) The pact will ensure that after the debt write-off by Greece, no other country will be forgiven. All debts will need to be repaid. Local banks in the south will remain moribund until they have got their finances back in order, something that could take 20 years without the kind of write-offs that put south American banks back on their feet in the 1990s.

Asian banks are still smarting after being made to pay back their loans in full after the 1998 crash. Many hate the IMF and all it stands for. The same fate awaits the ECB should it stick to a hard line until 2020 and beyond.

The Finns are approaching the EU as an institution with only upside advantages because the debts are all ringfenced in the south, without any possibility of a rebound on the north. They might have ditched their far right party (which won big in recent parliamentary elections) in favour of centrists and Greens, but that appears to be because they feel more comfortable inside the EU with the debt pact in place.

Could the Finns be this callous? Remember, this is the country that demanded cash in return for loans to Greece last year even though Athens was on its knees (and still is, obviously, partly because of the Finns’ tactics). © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds