18th Dec 2018

Finns want say on EU constitution

  • Young Finns are most keen on having a referendum (Photo: European Commission)

A majority of Finns would like to have a say on the country's adoption of the EU constitution, according to a TNS Gallup survey published by Finnish newspaper Sunnuntaisuomalainen.

In total, 57 per cent those asked want a referendum, while only 23 per cent agree that the Finnish parliament should adopt the constitution without consulting the people directly.

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Supporters of the Left Alliance, the Social Democratic Party and Green League were most keen on holding a referendum, while people voting for the conservative National Coalition Party were proved less supporting of a public poll on the EU charter.

Young people were also most in favour of having a referendum, according to the survey, conducted among 1000 people on 20 April.

The Finnish parliament plans to adopt the EU constitution just before or just after the start of the country's EU presidency in July, after MPs recently gave broad backing to a government white paper on the EU constitution.

In June last year EU leaders agreed to have a "period of reflection" following the constitution's rejection by voters in France and the Netherlands.

The Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Poland, Portugal and the UK have either suspended ratification altogether or are hesitant about continuing with the ratification process.

In a speech last Friday (21 April) Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the constitution should rest as long as no solution is found to the French and Dutch rejection.

"We need to respect the outcome of the referendums in France and the Netherlands. As long as France and the Netherlands cannot accept the treaty, it is shelved", he said at Copenhagen University.

Mr Rasmussen suggested a "Europe of results" instead and highlighted a number of "obviously good" elements contained in the constitution such as a more efficient decision-making procedures, more transparency, a permanent chairman of the European Council [member states' decision-making body] and an EU foreign minister.

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