More than 90 per cent of Finnish politicians expressed a desire to defend the Nordic welfare model in the European Union. This came out in a survey on opinions offered by politicians and political leaders on topics relevant to the European Parliament elections.
Concerning the statement “Finland must defend the Nordic welfare model in the EU” 58 per cent of those who replied strongly agreed and 34 per cent agreed to some extent.
The Finnish welfare model was also seen as a good export product, with 41 per cent agreeing totally and 41 per cent giving qualified support to that notion.
Endorsement of the welfare model is widespread all along the political spectrum. Among politicians from the Left Alliance, the Social Democratic Party and the Green League one hundred per cent saw it as an excellent export product.
In the Centre Party support reached 94 per cent, in the Swedish People’s Party and in the Christian Democrats the figure was 83 per cent. On the right wing of political life support for the Finnish welfare model as an export product was also high: in the Finns Party 81 per cent and in the National Coalition Party 72 per cent.
The survey was commissioned by the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL. A total of 1,362 politicians replied, among them candidates for the European Parliament, members of the Finnish Parliament, municipal council members and leaders of party district organisations.
Jarkko Eloranta, the president of JHL, sees the result as proof that politicians echo the views of salary and wage earners on this crucially important issue.
Stop tax competition
The idea of guaranteeing public services with EU basic legislation also enjoyed broad support. It was supported by 74 per cent of those who replied. The strongest support came from the politicians of the Left Alliance, the Social Democratic Party, the Green League and the Centre Party.
Among the politicians of the National Coalition Party 46 per cent supported EU level guarantees for the availability of public services but 31 per cent were against.
According to Jarkko Eloranta the figures show that even the majority of decision makers want the European Union to be about something other than inner market functioning centred around business. There is a clear demand for a more social Europe.
“Now we have to consider what kind of possibilities the EU has at its disposal to prevent tax competition between member states in order to guarantee public services. One such measure would be to introduce a financial transactions tax at EU level.”
Eloranta stresses, however, that availability of services depends on national level decisions. “EU policy and legislation should not preclude or inhibit reasonable national decision making.”
Helsinki (22.05.2014 – Heikki Jokinen)