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Finns Party demand MPs suspend holidays, reconvene Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament quashed the demand for an urgent debate on the EU stimulus package.

Ville Tavio
Finns Party Parliamentary Group chair Ville Tavio speaking to the media on Thursday afternoon. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

The opposition Finns Party has demanded the recalling of Parliament as soon as possible to discuss the government's role in the EU stimulus package deal agreed earlier this week.

The announcement was made at a press conference after a meeting of the party’s parliamentary group on Thursday afternoon.

However the Speaker of Parliament soon quashed the idea.

Finland’s Parliament is currently on a summer break, meaning MPs would need to suspend their holidays if the Finns Party’s demand is to be met.

"In our opinion, the decision is so significant it requires that Parliament be reconvened despite the adjournment of the sitting," the chair of the Finns Party’s parliamentary group, Ville Tavio, explained at the press conference.

He alleged that Prime Minister Sanna Marin exceeded her powers during the negotiations and is in violation of the Finnish Constitution.

"The Constitutional Law Committee has called for a broad public debate on the new direction of the EU," he said. "The 'No bail-out' rule has previously been considered to be in breach of EU treaties. It is also against Marin’s own government programme."

As a rule, each EU member state is responsible for its own finances, without the help of other member states. However, Tavio said the EU is increasingly becoming a union of remittances, in which the countries that manage their economies well end up paying for the countries that do not.

"The Prime Minister must not take advantage of the parliamentary break to overlook Parliament, which is the highest decision-making body," Tavio said.

Marin demands clarification, evidence

Shortly after the press conference, Marin took to Twitter to respond to the Finns Party’s accusations of "walking over" the constitution.

"It is clear that there are different views and positions on this issue within different parties. I am always ready to discuss them," Marin wrote. "However, vague allusions to the ministerial accountability process are unfair."

Marin also demanded clarification from the Finns Party on how she may have violated the constitution, and added she kept the chair of the Grand Committee on EU Affairs, Satu Hassi, up to date throughout the negotiations. Hassi confirmed this in a tweet on Thursday.

A decision to recall the legislature would have been made by Anu Vehviläinen, a former Centre Party minister who took over as Speaker of Parliament last month.

However in a statement around 5pm Thursday, she said would not convene the body as there is no urgent need for a discussion of the issue. She said the package will be debated during the autumn session as planned.

Parliament's next plenary session is scheduled for 1 September.

17:50 Updated with Vehviläinen statement.

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