Finland opposes changes to ECB voting system

Planned changes to the voting system of the European Central Bank may be delayed due to opposition from Finland.
Planned changes to the voting system of the European Central Bank may be delayed due to opposition from Finland.

Finland is the only EU member state to oppose a reform to the voting system of the ECB Governing Council, where all member states are currently represented by central bank governors.

The new plan calls for rotating voting authority, as the number of Governing Council members will soon be much larger with new members joining the Union in 2004. The voting rights would rotate according to a complicated system that takes into account a country's size and its gross domestic product, which would favour large member states.

Finland's view towards losing voting rights from time to time is highly critical. On Tuesday, the finance ministers of EU states failed to reach an agreement in the matter due to the opposition of Finland and, in part, Holland.

EU member states hope to reach a solution in the matter before April, when the future members sign the EU accession treaty. Thereafter, all decision-making will be more difficult, as the future members must be heard even if they do not have formal voting rights before accession.

The Grand Committee of Parliament is due to discuss the reforms in late February, one week before the next meeting of EU finance ministers. As Parliament oversees the Bank of Finland, it must approve decisions that affect the central bank. If the Grand Committee rejects the proposal, the changes will be delayed indefinitely.

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