Europe is currently the problem case of the global economy. But we cannot achieve a more sustainable situation until we tackle the roots of the euro crisis—that is, over-indebtedness and reckless economic policies. We need to safeguard the wellbeing of our citizens, and preserve our high-quality education, social and healthcare systems. This calls for tighter budget discipline throughout the eurozone, better governance and intensified co-ordination of spending policies among the nations that signed the fiscal union treaty in March.
My country, Finland, is a small nation whose economy is based on foreign trade and a functioning internal market within the European Union is vital for us. Together with other states that hold the highest AAA rating, we have contributed to the operations aimed at saving the most troubled eurozone states. Providing Greece, Ireland and Portugal with assistance and creating financial adjustment programmes for them was necessary to prevent the crisis from expanding across the entire eurozone.
Now, however, when it comes to the provision of support packages we have reached the end of the road. This is the case, first and foremost, with Greece, which now might have better prospects for survival if it were to exit the euro. Certainly, an exit would not be easy—any such decision would have to be taken in a controlled manner, in collaboration with other eurozone states.
But still, it is widely acknowledged that not even the second aid programme for Greece, agreed in February, will put a stop to its crisis. The ink has not yet dried on this agreement, and Europe is already discussing a third.
The mechanism for securing economic stability in Europe—the ESM—is intended to come into force in July 2012. Together with the new fiscal treaty, it will constitute a basis for more sustainable economies in Europe. We cannot, however, continue endlessly to increase the liabilities and risks of individual member states. My party says “no” to the policy of constantly bolstering the economic ties within the eurozone which, we feel, would lead to the development of a European federal system. Transferring decision-making power to Brussels will not solve our problems, and it would not send the right message to our citizens.
Eurobonds, as proposed by the European Commission, offer no immediate solution to the problems either. They would result in the creation of an extensive market for low-risk bonds which we believe would only encourage the development of…