Timo Soini, arch-Eurosceptic and leader of ‘The Finns’ party, has been appointed Finland’s finance minister and will now represent the country in EU financial talks.
Soini counts UKIP’s Nigel Farage as one of his closest political allies. He is fiercely anti-immigration and has previously called for Greece to be expelled from the euro currency.
The Telegraph reports that his party, which finished second in last month’s parliamentary elections, had been frozen out of the previous government over Soini’s opposition to Finland’s involvement in an EU rescue package for Portugal. However, following protracted negotiations over the new government, he has now been appointed to one of the most senior positions in the Finnish government.
Soini has already stated his opposition to Finland’s involvement in any new bail-out for Greece, and speaking before his appointment, said: “If the Finns go to government, I believe Finland’s policy towards Greece will change. It will change for the better, because it can’t get any worse.”
Mr Soini now finds himself in charge of a shrinking economy that is at risk of falling foul of EU debt and deficit rules. The EU may even try to force austerity measures and spending cuts on to Finland as it did for Greece.
He has led the Finns Party (previously known as True Finns) since its foundation in 1997.