The European Union In the years of the euro crisis, the EU and the eurozone carried out major crisis measures that circumvented the EU's hitherto sacred no-bailout ban.
Under that provision, EU countries may not - or should not have - assumed each other's debts or other financial responsibilities.
However, the crisis measures referred to the ban at the same time - and shifted a large number of debts from the crisis countries and other types of financial responsibilities to a common peak, which Finland also helped to guarantee.
For reluctant payers such as Finland, the crisis measures circumventing the ban on subsidies, together with their costs, were justified by the necessary coercion due to the crisis.
As initially prohibited aid became a crisis practice, EU countries added the possibility of such exceptional aid to the articles of the Treaties. However, by that time, a total of hundreds of billions of euros in liabilities had accumulated from the crisis measures, which Finland also contributed to guaranteeing a common peak.
In the last crisis, the joint guarantee and debt liabilities previously believed to be prohibited grew to the point that "contract documents" like Finland had their hair standing.
Yet the support measures of the recent crisis and the EU withdrawals that justified them were a light initial warm-up, alongside what is already under way under the guise of the corona crisis.
Necessary to circumvent the rules
The key EU institutions and a number of Member States are currently trying to attract and put pressure on all Member States to adopt two very big changes to the EU's economy.
They involve difficult and controversial problems of principle and law.
The first major but problematic change is a significant increase in EU funding for up to decades.
Another controversial proposal is the creation of a "recovery instrument" based on the largest debt in the Union's history to distribute free grants and semi-free credits to EU countries.
These proposed changes are closely interlinked, as increasing the EU's so-called own resources with a binding commitment to Finland for decades would guarantee the EU's ability to meet the debts of its new recovery fund.
The Recovery Fund would be an extra-EU financial assistance fund, unlike the previous EU structures, which would take on the largest debt in the EU's history so far and distribute its borrowed funds to Member States in need in the form of free grants and semi-free subsidies.
Nor would the stimulus fund differ from previous EU structures. It would also deviate from a number of key EU treaty clauses and rules.
As in the case of the euro crisis measures, the intention is to circumvent the treaty clauses that were previously believed to be completely unambiguous. With the difference that now even more articles would bang than in the last crisis.
The flaps are banging even worse
The operational and legal structure of the Commission's and the Council's proposals is so complex that it is quite difficult to obtain any explanation.
However, it becomes clear from the proposals and the proposals that describe them that the stimulus fund is intended to circumvent a large number of rules that are still in force and have so far been considered quite serious.
An arrangement outside the EU budget is being developed whereby the EU would finance a significant amount of its budget expenditure and grants to Member States with debt, despite the fact that:
- All EU revenue and expenditure must be entered in the budget.
- The revenue and expenditure shown in the EU budget must be in balance.
- The EU must not take on debt to finance budget expenditure.
- The EU must not assume the financial responsibilities of its member states except through temporary financial assistance in crisis situations.
- The EU may not provide temporary financial assistance without ensuring that the beneficiary country reimburses the Union for all costs incurred by the Union.
Despite all the prohibitions and regulations, the very key feature of the pattern and the real intention is to cover a very large amount of EU financial assistance with the largest debt in the history of the Union so far.
It would be particularly forbidden for the EU to become indebted in this figure, for the first time that, for the first time, the already problematic EU debt would be distributed to the Member States for the most part in the form of free grants.
The ingenious way of ignoring the contractual clauses in the Commission's very complex and difficult-to-understand proposal is to recycle debt financing into the Union budget through a special fund that is now being set up - and to record the cash flows from the fund as revenue.
Decades of "temporary" responsibility
Really, debts are debts, and there are no such imaginative circuits that debts really turn into income. That is why someone, even with the huge debts of EUR 750 billion planned for the EU, will have to pay off in due course.
If the model envisaged by the Commission materializes, the € 750 billion stimulus pot will be distributed to Member States in the form of EUR 500 billion in grants and EUR 250 billion in soft loans.
The basic assumption and probable future is that the countries that have received the loans will pay off their debts to the EU in due course, and that the EU can also use this "recoverable" funds to pay off this part of its debt.
But the EUR 500 billion share of the stimulus pot to be paid to member states would remain to be paid jointly by all EU countries.
Most would be paid by net contributors such as Finland, which in any case pay more membership fees to the EU than recover various subsidies.
The difference between payments and receipts and the net payer's position as a difference between them is a familiar thing in itself.
But the effects of the stimulus fund on the position of Finland's net contributor would become a number of essential new features that could even be constitutionally problematic.
In addition to Finland's participation in circumventing the EU's treaty clauses by approving the stimulus fund, Finland would also commit itself to meeting the EU's debts for decades to come.
Acceptance of the arrangement and the resulting responsibilities may not be facilitated by the Commission's characterization of the project as "temporary".
Sure, the debts of the stimulus fund should be taken and the grants distributed at a fast pace, but the debts are supposed to be taken - and paid - for at least until 2058.
Anyone who believes that the debt tuning until 2058 is temporary may believe that debt will turn into income.