Brexit prompts warnings from Finland, vow to back single market terms

Britain would have to sign up to "free movement of people" and not only the free flow of goods, services and capital if the country wanted access to the EU single market after leaving the bloc, Finnish officials said Friday during a special session on the question.

Parliament was recalled Friday from its summer recess to discuss last week's British decision to leave the bloc.

Foreign Minister Timo Soini restated that Finland is not looking to vote on leaving the bloc.

"During this {government's] term there will not be a referendum, but Finland is a free country ... where it is free to debate," Soini replied.

That comment only added to criticism about the stance of Soini and his eurosceptic Finns Party. Opposition members have said they are getting mixed signals as to whether the party wants a referendum.

Earlier this week, the leader of the Finns Party's youth wing launched a citizen's petition to call for a referendum on Finland's EU membership. Finland joined the bloc in 1995.

Soini's party is part of Prime Minister Juha Sipila's centre-right governing coalition formed a year ago, comprising Sipila's Centre Party and the conservative National Coalition Party.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled in 2019.

Sipila also told parliament that the country is not going to have a referendum. He affirmed that access to the bloc's single market hinges on accepting the four basic European freedoms.

Antti Rinne, leader of the main opposition Social Democrats, said his party was also committed to work with the government to strengthen and develop the EU.

Last update: Fri, 01/07/2016 - 17:23
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