Opposition demands parliament recall over EU deal

The Finns Party accuses the prime minister of breaching Finland's Constitution and using the summer recess to circumvent parliamentary scrutiny of the multi-billion euro coronavirus recovery fund.

Finns Party MP Ville Tavio holds a press conference outside parliament, 23rd July 2020 / Credit: Persut

The Finns Party, the largest opposition group in Parliament, has demanded a recall of MPs from summer recess for an urgent debate on the EU coronavirus budget deal.

The Finns Party parliamentary group leader Ville Tavio accused the prime minister of violating Finland’s Constitution during Brussels negotiations.

“[Sanna] Marin has acted in a legally unsustainable way, in violation of the Constitution and by bypassing the legal boundary of conditions of the Constitutional Committee” Tavio told reporters on Thursday afternoon.

The Finns Party says the Constitutional Committee should have been called together during the five days of Brussels talks between EU leaders which stretched over last weekend, in order to give their approval – or not – to the deal that was being negotiated.

Tavio also says the prime minister is using the summer holidays to circumvent parliamentary scrutiny of the deal, and that the coronavirus budget funds breaks the EU’s own rules.

For her part, prime minister Sanna Marin says she was in touch with the chair of the Grand Committee “several times” during the Brussels negotiations, and called on Tavio to outline specifically how she breached the Constitution, instead of making vague accusations.

The Grand Committee’s chairperson Satu Hassi (Green) also confirms the prime minister’s version of events, saying “the task of the Grand Committee is to give the government a negotiating mandate, not to guide the government’s negotiating tactics.”

The Speaker of Parliament Anu Vehviläinen says in a statement that she has no plans to recall MPs, and that the EU’s coronavirus recovery package, and the multi-year budget, will be discussed in full when Parliament resumes for its autumn session in September.