Nordic reactions to UK veto, proposals for deeper fiscal union

Dagens Næringsliv reports from Norway that UK prime minster David Cameron’s veto of any change to the Lisbon Treaty defining the European Union means that “Britons are again swimming against the European tide”.

The dramatic veto at the EU meeting means the country is more isolated than it ever has been, the paper writes.

In Finland, finance minister Jutta Urpilainen has been reported as saying that the country can either stick to decisions made by the permanent stability mechanism – ESM – or stay out of the ESM. But there is no third way because of what has been determined by a parliamentary committee looking at constitutional law.

Although the eurozone members agreed that the ESM would be subject to 85% qualified majority voting in times of crisis – on the basis theEuropean Commission and European Central Bank decide that there is a crisis – the constitution of Finland means that the deal has to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the country’s Parliament.

In practical terms this means Finland will not participate in the deal, writes Hufvudstadsbladet in Helsinki.

In Sweden prime minster Fredrik Reinfeldt was unable to confirm today, Friday, whether or not the country would join the eurozone deal “although it would be strange to sign up to a deal between states on how the euro should be managed”, he is reported saying by Dagens Industri.

The situation is different for EU states outside the monetary union, but who are intent on joining it. He also claimed that while Denmark initially was positive to the deal as brokered, it ended up taking a similar point of view as Sweden.

As if to underline the view that Sweden is cool to the solution proposed by the meeting of EU leaders, Reinfeldt actually referred to the statement from the country’s leader of the opposition in Parliament, Håkan Juholt, the head of the Social Democratic party, who said that Sweden cannot join the deal because of its previous referendum on euro membership – Swedes rejected currency union and kept the SEK.

Sweden is more positive to other proposals, such as that to strengthen budget discipline, including automatic sanctions for those breaking the rules. And Reinfeldt was prepared to consider changes to the EU treaty if all member states had had agreed to this, but this view became redundant when the UK said no.

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