Finland is in a rather unique position within the European Union. Their nation is by all accounts, very prosperous and stable with a relatively small debt to GDP ratio. However, their nation is also being crippled under the influence of the Eurozone. They’ve endured a relentless recession accompanied by negative economic growth and high unemployment. In fact, their economy has contracted by .6% this past quarter, which is worse than any other EU nation including Greece. Their current downturn has lasted even longer than the post-Soviet crash of the early 90’s.
Because of their recent economic woes, Finland has become the perfect example of how detrimental it is to be a part of the EU. That’s because they don’t fall under the stereotypes of their Southern peers like Greece, Spain, and Italy. Finland isn’t a debt ridden basket case nation, rife with corruption, dysfunction, and empty promises. And yet, the Euro is still wrecking their economy.
The contrast between Euro and non-Euro nations becomes obvious when Finland is compared to neighboring Sweden, a country whose economy and standard of living is remarkably similar to theirs. While Sweden is still part of the European Union, they never adopted the Euro. Not so coincidentally, their economy has grown 8% since 2008, while Finland’s has shrunk 6%.
What’s worse is that the Finnish people never really had a choice on the matter. While countries like Sweden and Denmark managed to dodge the Euro bullet, the Finns had it rammed down their throats. There was no referendum on the issue. Amid widespread opposition, the government forced them into the Euro under the guise of national security. They claimed that they had to thoroughly embed their economy into Western Europe’s if they wanted protection from Russia.
The popular resentment over that forced integration, coupled with the growing disparity between themselves and their non-euro neighbors, has birthed one of the fastest growing Eurosceptic movements on the continent. And that movement recently drafted a petition that now threatens the integrity of the Eurozone.
We’ve heard of a “Grexit” and “Brexit” to refer respectively to the threat of Greece and Britain leaving the euro zone and European Union. But now there’s a “Fixit” – a Finnish exit of the single currency.
A 50,000 strong petition has forced Finland’s parliament to debate whether to quit the 19-country euro zone, a senior parliamentary official told Reuters on Monday, as dissatisfaction mounts over how the country has fared since it joined the currency union.
Finland has seen a dramatic rise in euro-skepticism in recent years. In 2011, the True Finns party – a nationalist, anti-immigrant, anti-euro party won 19 percent of the vote, making it the third largest party in parliament.
In 2015 elections, the Finns party, as it is now known, gained 17.7 percent of the vote and joined the current coalition government of three center-right parties — the Centre Party, the Finns Party and the National Coalition Party.
Members of parliament are expected to debate the issue early next year, though an actual exit from the Euro is unlikely since a majority of the population still supports the Euro. However, that support is rapidly deflating. 64% of the population wants to stay with the currency according to a Eurobarometer poll, which is a 5% drop from last year.
Even though this particular petition won’t amount to anything in the short-term, it’s still a major milestone for the Eurosceptic movement because it’s the first of its kind. No other EU nation has gotten this close to a definitive referendum. And while those poll numbers sound abysmal, they suggest that Finnish support for the Euro is even lower than it is among Greeks.
In all likelihood, we have our first real contender for a Euro exit. It won’t happen tomorrow, and it probably won’t happen next year, but if current trends continue then Finland may be the first nation to detach itself from the Euro. Or put another way, they’ll be first domino to fall in Europe.
It might happen sooner than you think due to the fact that support for an EU exit is beginning to reach a tipping point in the UK. Though they aren’t a part of the Euro, they are the second largest economy in the EU. When the UK leaves, it will be a crippling blow to the financial state of every nation that still remains in the EU. Once that happens, you can expect support for the Euro to crumble across every nation, including Finland.
I give it a few years before the system collapses. That’s when Britain will get to vote on an EU exit, the refugee crisis will have reached an unfathomable level, and another global recession (that is long overdue) will be in full swing. The European Union just isn’t long for this world.
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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .