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Centre candidate advocates a return to the markka

Centre Party presidential candidate Paavo Väyrynen says that he would be ready to see Finland exit the eurozone and bring its own currency, the Finnish markka, back into circulation. In a YLE TV1 interview on Saturday, Väyrynen expressed the view that bringing back the markka would be both sensible and possible.

Paavo Väyrynen TV1:n Ykkösaamun vieraana 3. joulukuuta 2011.
Paavo Väyrynen TV1:n Ykkösaamun vieraana 3. joulukuuta 2011. Image: YLE

"I think that the possibility that Finland would withdraw from the eurozone should be considered. We could bring the markka back in parallel with the euro," Väyrynen told YLE.

"Perhaps we could create a Nordic currency mechanism to stabilize the currencies of the Nordic countries against each other and against the euro. This would be sensible and it would be possible, if desired," he said.

Under such a plan, as envisaged by Väyrynen, the Finnish markka would be pegged at the same value as the euro.

In the wrong company

Germany and France are making preparations for a more integrated economic union. Väyrynen does not believe it would be in Finland's interest to be involved in such a venture. He sees a strong move underway to transform the eurozone into a federal state. The measures already seen to provide financial backing that make countries responsible for each other's debts are in Väyrynen's view a long step into federalism.

He argued that the next step could be a supra-national government for the eurozone to manage financial policy. For Finland to be in the company of this group of nations, to which the Nordic countries of Denmark and Sweden do not belong, would be extremely harmful, according to the Centre Party candidate.

Paavo Väyrynen is not ready to give his unreserved support to the Finnish government's efforts to keep the eurozone intact. Finland should not, in his view increase its own responsibility for helping to solve the debt crisis. He judges the eurozone debt crisis as being so serious that it cannot longer be kept in check through political decisions.

Not scared of Russia

So far during his campaign, Paavo Väyrynen has stressed Finland's military non-alignment. However, a week ago he spoke of NATO membership as an option. In Saturday's interview, he pointed out that he was referring to a possibility far in the future at a time when conditions have possibly changed.

"This could mean that a dictator were to come to power in Russia and the country were to become expansionist. Now, the option of a military alliance is neither sensible nor a current issue," Väyrynen explained.

His view is that it is important to keep an eye of Russia's military development. However, Väyrynen does not consider upgrades to Russia's military forces in areas close to Finland to be a threat, pointing out that Russia neglected modernizing its military for 20 years.

As for the ongoing Finnish presidential campaign, Paavo Väyrynen believes that the opinion polls are not keeping up with the real situation. He estimated Saturday that he is currently the second most popular candidate, behind the National Coalition Party's Sauli Niinistö and that his support is now at around 15% of voters.

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