Friday, April 22, 2011

As Finland Goes, So Goes the Union ...

Finland? What has Finland got to do with France? In US politics there was once the adage, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation." Like Finland, Maine is a cold, northern excrescence upon the continent, but it was once taken to be a political bellwether. And now Finland has taken a sharp veer to the right, as anti-immigrant, anti-EU sentiment there catapulted the extreme-right True Finn party to an 800% gain in parliamentary seats. Worse,

Finland is not alone. Anti-European Union and anti-immigration parties have been on the rise in Sweden, Italy, Hungary and the Netherlands in the past year, and more may follow. It is a worrisome trend for supporters of the union, and for efforts to safeguard the euro by offering emergency loans to the weakest member nations and to better coordinate budget and spending policies in the countries that use it.
Will France be the next country added to this list? Or, as in 1981, will it buck the rightward turn and go its own way?

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