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NCP U-turn on EU stimulus abstention

A majority of NCP MPs expected to support the EU Covid recovery plan.

Petteri Orpo
National Coalition Party chair Petteri Orpo. Image: Mikko Ahmajärvi / Yle

A week after announcing their decision to abstain from voting on the EU's Covid recovery plan, National Coalition Party group chair Kai Mykkänen and party chair Petteri Orpo announced on Thursday that the party had reversed their decision, and they would allow a free vote.

This means that the majority of the Coalition party MPs are expected to vote for the package.

After reassessing the situation, the party chairs said the party is changing its position in order to save the package.

Mykkänen and Orpo defended the back and forth, explaining that as a result of their declared abstention, the party was able to have their grievances heard by the Parliamentary Finance Committee.

Party leaders say there are still defects in the stimulus package, saying it represents a step towards joint debt to fund poorer countries' outgoings and a measure that would transfer significant decision-making powers away from Finland. These points of contention, however, have been taken into account in the report by the Finance Committee, according to Mykkänen and Orpo.

This time around, the party is not attempting to impose party discipline over the vote, which means that the majority of the parliamentary group is expected to vote for the stimulus package.

Some are expected to vote against it, with four no votes already declared.

The EU's Covid recovery plan will need the support of two-thirds of Finnish MPs to pass a vote in parliament, after a key committee ruled the constitutional implications demanded the enhanced majority. Abstention by the NCP could have jeopardised the passage of the stimulus package.

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