Political appointments have not stopped

The present Finnish Prime Minister promised “NO MORE POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS” before he was elected in 2015 and then forgot what he had promised.

The latest appointment which was nicely controlled by the Supervisory Board of there Bank of Finland was to appoint Mr. Olli Rehn as Governor of the Bank of Finland. Naturally the appointment was made by the Supervisory Board that is chaired by Mr. Vanhanen a former PM and key Centre Party member…

Mr. Rehn has enjoyed a colourful career that has its roots in being an enthusiastic and hyper-active member of the Centre Party since birth – his mother was a Centre Party politician and member of Parliament. As a youth he became head of the Finnish and Nordic organisations for Centre Party youngsters. After graduating, he worked his way up through one political appointment after another until he became, in 2004, a European Commissioner for Enlargement and later for Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs. At this high point in his career he fought hard for EU expansion and defended quite aggressively Turkey’s membership. We can thank our lucky stars that he failed to convince the member states!

He continued as a really hard-line austerity official and joined the IMF and European Central Bank in forcing weaker EU members into privatising their public services.

The combination of these 3 bodies is called the Troika and basically represents Neo-liberal ideals that often repeat the myth that the public sector is less efficient than the private sector while selling off too cheaply public sector assets to well-connected big companies who then increase tariffs many times over. 

The financial crisis of Greece was mismanaged by him and the other members of the Troika – instead of cutting unsustainable debt they forced the Greeks to sell their public assets at low prices, they enforced terrible austerity on Geek citizens and used EU/ECB funds to bail out big private foreign banks that were holders Greek government debt – all outrageous activities that have had grave consequences for Greece and for the EU.

Naturally the Troika never thought that the public sector should hang on to these public goods and implement more modest increases in tariffs with a better final result. No, the Troika played into the hands of big business and the banks – the same banks that later needed saving with Eurozone taxpayers’ money! 

Mr. Rehn was actively involved in these measures even though the French former minister and then EU Commissioner Mr. Barnier denied that the EU was pushing for privatisation of public services. In fact Mr. Barnier had issued a statement acknowledging that it is the Commission’s duty to take seriously the concerns voiced by so many Greek citizens and has proposed to the other Commissioners and to President Barroso that water should be withdrawn from the scope of the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament.

After his stint at the EU Mr. Rewhn came back to Finland in 2014, and in 2015 became a Minister for the Economy until his first political appointment to the Central Bank in 2017 and then in 2018 he was again the happy recipient of the next political appointment as Governor of the bank!

So much for promises about no more political appointments, and so much for not following EU policies by people like Mr. Rehn. This whole story looks like certain people can be protected and elevated to high positions even when they make one error of judgement after another. Is this what voters really deserve from their leaders?

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