Finnish voters yesterday dealt a blow to Europe’s plans to rescue Portugal and other debt-ridden economies: they ousted their pro-bailout government and gave a big boost to a nationalist party skeptical of bailouts and the Euro zone. On preliminary counts, the anti-immigration True Finns, who believe Finland shouldn’t rescue Europe’s “squanderers,” soared to 39 seats from 6 in the 200-member Parliament. The National Coalition leader will now have to invite either this party or the Social Democrats, who have called for changes to how countries such as Portugal are financed, to coalition talks.
What’s the Big Idea?
Pundits say the result will give Europe gray hairs, potentially causing problems over bailout plans. Finland’s support is key—rescue packages require unanimous approval in the 17-member Euro zone. “If any country pulled out, the system would crash, leading to a worsening of the debt crisis at a time when the group is deciding whether bailouts will end with Portugal or will also be needed for larger economies like Spain’s or Italy’s.”