the Treasury minister Annika Saarikko (Cen) and former Minister of Finance, Chairman of the Coalition Party (NCP) Petteri Orpoagree that Russia’s attack on Ukraine will have a detrimental effect on the Finnish economy.
The scale of the impact will become apparent as Russia responds to Western economic sanctions resulting from Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine.
Saarikko told Yle’s breakfast television on Friday morning that while the consequences can be serious, they are worth enduring.
"Peace is the highest value of Western democracy. The cost of these sanctions is only bearable," The archipelago said.
NCP chairman Orpo, who was also in the studio on Friday morning, stressed that a response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine was necessary. He said this means the toughest possible sanctions, even if Russia’s retaliation is inevitable.
"That is the price we have to pay together and we have to endure. I think we can deal with it because we want to show solidarity," The orphan said.
Orpo: Energy prices rise ‘very seriously’
Both Saarikko and Orpo continued to agree that Russia’s expected retaliation will hit energy prices in particular.
"Not only Finland, but the whole of Europe is heavily dependent on Russian energy imports. Right now, this has been reflected in a very sharp rise in oil prices," The archipelago said.
Orpo, on the other hand, described the rise in petrol and electricity prices in Finland as follows "really serious".
"This must be taken very seriously and ways must be found [to tackle it]. From the point of view of the opposition, we have put forward measures to improve people’s livelihoods. Many measures are needed here," he added.
Saarikko: Focus on Finland’s security of supply
Minister of Finance Saarikko said that although the effects of the crisis on the economy will be manifold, he is particularly concerned about the growing uncertainty in world markets.
"It is never a good thing for the economy if there is deep uncertainty around it. For example, I cannot promise that inflation will stop, but it is justified to worry that" The archipelago said.
He added that Finland and other European countries are also heavily indebted due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, economic growth has been strong in recent months, he pointed out.
"The worst case scenario would be one where economic growth slows but prices remain high. It is not yet worth predicting, but I emphasize the importance of preparation," Saarikko stated and added that the preparation should not only be financial, but should also focus on Finland’s security of supply.
Orphan: NATO membership “a real deterrent”
In the broadcast on Friday morning, Orpo and Saarikko also talked about Finland’s possibility of applying for membership in NATO.
Orpo’s NCP has long supported Finland’s accession to NATO.
"That would increase our security. Maintaining NATO membership as an option is a deterrent in itself, but membership would be a real deterrent." The orphan said.
According to Saarikko, making such decisions in the midst of a crisis would not be the wisest course of action. He added that the Center wants to keep the choice open, but such a decision requires a strong security policy rationale and broad public support.
In response to Saarikko’s comments, Orpo stated that the NCP would not send the application to NATO immediately.
"However, it must be said that our security environment changed completely yesterday [Thursday] morning," The orphan said.
Source: The Nordic Page