The EU "recovery fund" proposed by Germany and France may seem and sound like a viable means of alleviating the economic difficulties of the EU countries hardest hit by the interest rate crisis.
Likewise, at least on the surface, it may seem like a much-needed attempt to alleviate perpetual monetary disputes between EU countries - and to see the EU or even the eurozone economy as a whole and not get caught up in conflicts of interest between individual member states.
Unfortunately, such or otherwise enthusiastic interpretations of the stimulus fund are natural only for a third party or party who does not have to pay for the costs of the arrangement or, in particular, contribute to their own payment.
Instead, it is appropriate for the parties involved in the costs to look not only at the stated objectives and benefits of the project, but also at the cost, disadvantages and other consequences of the project.
A net contributor such as Finland, who is less indebted than the average euro and EU country, cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the costs and perhaps costly long-term effects of such a proposal.
And in such an examination, it is not only the effects of the project on the economy of "Europe" that matter, but also on one's own economy.
A draw or a bluff?
The Recovery Fund would undoubtedly revitalize the economies of the recipient countries and alleviate their fiscal challenges.
The benefit to the recipients is obvious: they would have access to more and cheaper funds than would be possible by indebtedness in their own names. Thus, recipient countries would have the opportunity to maintain larger budget deficits - higher spending or lighter taxation, or both - than would be possible without the background support provided by the Recovery Fund.
It is also clear that such a possibility would be of great help to eurozone countries such as Italy and Spain, which are suffering from a more severe coronary recession and whose public finances are already heavily indebted.
But in the same way, it is obvious that, because of the stimulus fund, some other countries would necessarily have to keep their own economic policy belts tighter than would be necessary without this new common peak.
This would be the case despite the fact that, in the German and French models, the stimulus fund would be set up as a temporary extension of the EU budget and would be financed by debt financing in the name of the EU and not by direct payments from Member States.
However, the bill would eventually fall, as the proposal would mean that the temporary fund would be dismantled in due course and the debts paid off.
Of course, even in this EU project, the possibility of a bluff contributing to the implementation of the proposal must be taken into account, and perhaps the talk of the temporary nature of the stimulus fund is a drag and not a sincere goal.
Still, for the sake of certainty, it is appropriate for a net contributor like Finland to prepare for the unlikely alternative that the arrangement is actually to be dissolved in due course.
Net payers pay for this too
According to the German and French proposals, the recovery fund to be set up as a follow-up to the EU budget would initially be financed by borrowing the necessary funds from the financial markets.
The intricacies of the proposal - or the disadvantages of how each one wants to interpret it - include obtaining debt financing on behalf of the EU and not individual Member States.
Another subtlety - or badness - would be to channel funds to Member States in need of support in the form of subsidies and not loans.
It would inevitably follow from those features of the arrangement that the payment of interest and amortization of the EU's debts would be the responsibility of all EU Member States in the same way as they are otherwise responsible for financing the EU budget.
The bill would therefore be paid by the same net contributors to the EU budget, who pay more "membership fees" to the EU than they themselves receive from the EU for various grants and other transfers of funds.
Formally, recipient countries would also contribute to the funding they receive from the Fund in the form of their own membership fees, but this would not really matter to them - as long as the grants they receive increase more than the membership fees they pay themselves.
Finland, as a lower-paying net contributor than the average EU and euro country, would be one of the payers of this project as well. There is not the slightest doubt about that.
It is also clear in advance that, in time, this additional cost would contribute to increasing Finland's pressure to tighten its economic policy belt more than would be necessary just to balance its own public finances.
There should be nothing surprising to anyone here, and especially not unusual, because that is exactly what the consequences of income transfers are.
When income and expenditure are equalized and transferred, someone receives and someone else pays. In this case, the recipients are other countries, but Finland is one of the payers.
Again, EU treaties are being circumvented
At least in principle, it is entirely possible that participation in the revitalization of some other countries would in time reflect economic benefits back to Finland's own economy.
This assumption of reflection of indirect recovery benefits is probably the main reason why Germany, despite its own large contribution, has considered it appropriate to work alongside France to promote the establishment of a recovery fund.
But despite Germany's initiative, it is uncertain how and to what extent the recovery of some other EU or euro countries and the easing of their economic worries would reflect economic benefits all the way to Finland.
It is also uncertain whether those reflection benefits could ever be expected in the same amount as would have to be paid for resuscitation first.
Before participating in the stimulus fund, it would be appropriate to weigh very carefully the potential advantages and disadvantages of the project - as well as the fairly certain costs.
And when weighing them, it is probably still allowed to keep in mind the interest of Finland and not only "Europe".
Perhaps it is also good to keep in mind that this joint project could easily be interpreted as violating not only the ban on burden-sharing between EU countries but also the requirement for the EU's own budgetary balance.
For, in fact, neither the EU countries nor the EU should take on the financial responsibilities of each Member State. And the EU should not really finance its spending with debt.
This is at least what is stated in the articles of the EU Constitutional Treaties.
Forced to choose between two evils
When weighing the benefits and disadvantages of the Recovery Fund and other joint projects - and the requirements of the EU treaties - on behalf of Finland, it may be time for Sanna Marin's (sd) government to decide which euro line of the government program is valid:
Is it important for Finland to maintain "stability in the euro area" - and to take on the financial responsibilities of others, for example through the stimulus fund.
Or is it more important for Finland than the stimulus fund and other income transfers that "all countries are responsible for their own economic policies".
Read also: Comment: This ministerial proverb means in Finnish that the thorn is open
If the government thinks it is a good idea to start disbursing the revenue transfers of the stimulus fund, it may be justified by the stability of the euro area and the EU.
But after that, it is pointless to say once again the already hollow spell of the responsibility required of each country for the economic policy of its own country.
If, on the other hand, economic policy ownership and compliance with the EU Treaties are more important than embarking on a new and costly joint project in the name of "stability", stimulus funds and other remittances popping up under the guise of the crisis must be encouraged.
The choice must be made, and either choice must be able to justify to the citizens and explain clearly and unambiguously in the domestic language how the choice promotes the interests of Finland and the Finnish taxpayer.
But in justifying the choice, the bar must be set higher than before - and not continue the same confusing explanation that has been heard from various governments for ten years.
One cannot endlessly accept more of the financial responsibilities of others and always just pretend that at the same time it would somehow be possible to maintain each country's own responsibility for its own financial obligations.