On Friday, 12 June, the Grand Committee of the Finnish Parliament adopted the Eduskunta’s position ahead of Member State negotiations on the European Commission’s updated draft multiannual financial framework and Covid-19 recovery plan.
The Grand Committee has no objections at this stage to the Government’s position that was submitted in document E 64/2020. The Grand Committee expects to develop its position during negotiations. The Grand Committee’s statement to the Government (SuVL 6/2020) and supporting documents can be read (in Finnish and partly in Swedish) on the Eduskunta’s web site.
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The Grand Committee observes that EU-level recovery measures enjoy wide support in the Member States and business circles and among experts. Disagreement concerns financing and the legal basis.
Referring to the opinions of the Finance and Commerce Committees, the Grand Committee notes that, if adopted, the recovery plan would have a beneficial effect on the Finnish economy, as exports are a large part of our economy.
The opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee states that “this is not about developing a federal state, but about exceptional and temporary recovery measures.” The opinion of the Constitutional Law Committee examines questions that might be constitutionally sensitive. The Grand Committee’s statement instructs the Government to clarify and, if needed, remove these items.
The Grand Committee consider that Finland should be prepared to consider developing the EU’s own resources system. Introducing a plastics charge or tax as a new own resource is seen as helpful to both the Finnish economy and to the environment.
The ratio of loans and grants in the recovery programme calls for reconciling Finland’s long-standing emphasis on national responsibility for economic policy with considerations of debt sustainability in the Member States, and thus the stability of the Euro, and the growth targeted by the recovery plan, say the Grand Committee.
The Grand Committee notes that the difference between today’s situation and the previous decade’s financial crisis has obvious implications for the conditions to be attached to recovery assistance. Care must be, taken, however, not to lose incentives for responsible economic policies and modernisation.
Directing the flow of funds through the multiannual financial framework promotes the transparency, legitimacy and scrutiny of the assistance. The arrangement means that also rule of law considerations, a Finnish priority, can be ensured. The Grand Committee adds that the opportunity should be taken to include measures to combat the grey economy in the assistance criteria.
The Grand Committee underlines that the recovery fund is temporary and linked to the Covid-19 crisis. It is important that the fund’s criteria and practice reflect the pandemic’s impact on the economy and employment in the Member States.
The Grand Committee agrees with the Government that the compatibility of the recovery instrument with European law, specifically articles 310 and 311 TFEU will need to be confirmed as negotiations progress.
The Grand Committee’s statement drew on opinions to the Constitutional Law Committee (PeVL 16/2020), the Finance Committee (VaVL 2/2020) and the Commerce Committee (TaVL 15/2020).