Opposition: Rinne’s Brexit comments in Paris “very unprofessional”

National Coalition Party members say that Antti Rinne's comments in Paris were at odds with Finland's Brexit policy.

Prime Minister Rinne (L) speaking to journalists with President Macron (R) in Paris, 18th September 2019 / Credit: Päivi Anttikoski, VNK

Opposition politicians have criticised Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) for comments he made about Brexit in France this week.

On Wednesday Rinne went to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron. Afterwards, he told Finnish journalists that Britain had a 12 day deadline to give written proposals on the next steps to solve the Brexit impasse – and said Macron agreed with him on this.

Finland currently holds the rotating six-month Presidency of the European Council, but Brexit talks have taken place between the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart, and Rinne is not directly involved.

Now, the seven National Coalition Party MPs on Finland’s Grand Committee have issued a statement expressing their displeasure at Rinne seemingly speaking out of turn – in comments that were reported by media outlets throughout Europe.

File picture of MP Sinuhe Wallinheimo (NCP) / Credit: Politician’s website

“To be honest we were surprised that Prime Minister Rinne said that with Macron, and we were confused because we didn’t know he was going to come up with that kind of idea” says one of those Grand Committee MPs Sinuhe Wallinheimo (NCP).

“Usually when the Prime Minister goes to big meetings he’s going to ask for a mandate from the Grand Committee. In this case it wasn’t necessary because he only went to see President Macron, however the comments he gave were totally different than we have been talking in the Grand Committee about our Brexit policy” he tells News Now Finland.

The Kokoomus MPs – Ville KaunistoArto SatonenSofia VikmanAnne-Mari VirolainenPia Kauma and Ben Zyskowicz – are looking for an explanation from the Prime Minister about why he apparently spoke out of turn.

“I hope we get a response because it was very unprofessional that he said what he said, because we thought that our basic line is the same, and now for some reason he gave this statement which is not what Finland’s policy is” says Jyväskylä MP Wallinheimo.

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