Why it’s time for debt-addled Greece to worry about the Finns

Griekenland kan de borst nat maken op 11 mei. Dan komen de Ministers van de eurozone weer bijeen. De nieuwe minister van Financiën van Finland zal dan ook bekend zijn. Namen van kandidaten doen al de ronde. En die wijzen maar op één ding: het wordt een ijskoude wind uit het noorden.

Prospective finance minister of the Nordic nation will try and squeeze Greece to the edge of default, whoever gets the job.

The eurozone’s coterie of finance ministers is set to get a new face this week as Finland is set to formalise the details of its coalition government. Following elections last month, in which the liberal Centre Party emerged as the largest party, prime minister elect, Juha Sipila is poised to announce who has made it into his cabinet after three weeks of political horse-trading. As one of the single currency’s most ardent champions of austerity, the rest of the eurozone will be watching on with interest.

The candidates in line for the role of finance minister could help determine how far debt-stricken Greece will be pushed in its ill-tempered negotiations. The favourite for the job is Timo Soini, leader of eurosceptic True Finns who first stormed into the limelight at the height of the eurozone’s woes in 2011. Fiercely anti-immigration and a trenchant critic of creditor benevolence to southern countries, Mr Soini was left out of government over his resistance to Finnish involvement in the eurozone’s rescue programme for Portugal four years ago.

This time round, the True Finns – who have been rebranded as just The Finns – came in with nearly 18pc of the vote, and are likely to be brought into from the cold as the second largest party in parliament. Traditionally, the post of finance minister has gone to the leader of the junior coalition partner.

In Mr Soini, a 52-year-old Millwall supporter who counts Nigel Farage among his closest political allies, the euro’s finance chiefs may well find themselves sitting around the table with a maverick who would put Greece’s much-maligned Yanis Varoufakis in the shade.

Lees verder op The Telegraph