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Finnish MPs to debate euro exit after 'Fixit' petition

[HELSINKI] Finland's parliament must hold a debate on a possible referendum to leave the European single currency euro after receiving a citizen's initiative signed by more than 50,000 Finns on Thursday.

While a eurozone exit is seen as unlikely in financially troubled Finland, the number of signatures means that parliament is legally required to debate a referendum to decide on a possible Finnish exit, dubbed "Fixit" in the media.

A date for the debate in parliament has not been set.

The citizen's petition was proposed by Paavo Vayrynen, 69, a long serving minister in previous governments.

But it is not supported by any party in parliament, including Vayrynen's Centre Party or the eurosceptic Finns Party, both of which are part of the governing coalition government.

Still, "among the people there is wide support for Finland exiting the eurozone," Vayrynen told reporters.

A poll commissioned by the public broadcaster YLE in December showed that 31 per cent of all respondents favour a Finnish euro exit. Four years ago only a fifth supported the idea of leaving the single currency.

EU scepticism has been on the rise in several countries, and Britain is voting on whether to leave the European Union in a June referendum. In Finland, rising euroscepticism is generally explained by the economic crisis that has shaken the country.

Finland emerged from a three-year recession in 2015 with its growth at 0.4 percent.

"Finland has suffered from its membership in the eurozone, as a comparison with Sweden well illustrates. After 2008 Sweden's economy has grown over eight percent while Finland's economy has shrunk by six percent," Vayrynen said.


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