Finland’s membership to the European Union brought prosperity – and continues to do so, but it’s no longer a love affair.
As reported by YLE online, the Finnish economy began to recover from a recession at about the same time the country joined the EU. This was partly because of a growth in consumer confidence and the newly-acquired access Finnish exports had to the wider EU market.
What is more, Finns are enjoying EU membership because it allows them to travel freely in the bloc – and vice versa.
Today, Sampo Terho, Finland’s minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport within the coalition government, describes his own developing relationship with the EU as being representative of many people of his generation.
“Personally, I have gone all the way from being a very positive European and EU enthusiast at a young age, to a very critical EU minister at an older age,” says Terho, a former Finns party member (but now a member and co-founder of the Blue Reform party). “The four years I spent at the European Parliament changed my views because I saw the concentration of power to Brussels and for a small member state like Finland that can hinder our independence and we must be very careful not to do that.”
According to YLE, rising dissatisfaction with the EU among certain quarters of Finnish society has even led to some of Terho’s former colleagues within the Finns Party to suggest that Finland should leave the EU. Terho, however, said he does not believe “Fixit” is a viable option. “We must fight for a better EU, not to get out of the EU.”