During the 10 years between 1992 and 2001, your correspondent was the CEO of the Finnish Municipal Bank called Municipality Finance (Kuntarahoitus) that enjoyed the same credit rating as the Republic of Finland.
Municipality Finance, depended as it does today, on the international capital markets to fund municipal investments in basic infrastructure. In order to maintain an active international profile and develop activities we decided to join an association of similar European municipal banks from Germany, France, the other Nordics, Holland, Belgium and Spain and Italy.
The early meetings were a farce because the French and the Germans thought that they had the right to make all the decisions and represent the association at the top table.
Naturally we Nordics objected but we were told to stop being noisy!
Can you imagine having meetings on a rotating basis where top ministers, bankers and investors were invited to learn more about us, where the Nordics were asked to sit at the back of the room while the Germans and the French CEO’s enjoyed the company of these decision makers. Their selfish attitudes were appalling. The Frenchman was the CEO of Dexia Bank, while the German boss was from the DEKA Bank. Naturally we demanded, and eventually received, equal treatment, but that took several years to implement.
(Note – later these men got what they deserved – Dexia went bankrupt ,and DEKA faced debilitating struggles as the losses accumulated at many of the German Landesbanks that needed State support).
Now we can see Macron and Merkel continuing the same single-minded policies by holding the rest of EU member states to ransom, as if the EU is just there just for their countries’ benefit.
You will have seen that both heads of state shared private discussions with President Xi during his recent visit to the EU. The same is now happening with negotiations between the EU and he USA of trade!
It is easy to say that us Nordics have to be pragmatic and accept our minority positions when faced with French and German might. But why do we have to accept such pragmatic solutions?
But we, the Nordics, are all making large payments to the EU and we have the right to sit at the top table and not be pushed to the sidelines. Why should a member state take an inferior position because they “must be pragmatic”. That dos not make any sense since we are all proudly independent states that choose to cooperate in this EU organisation.
The Nordics all have clear a benefits to be in this club, which are shared by almost all the member states. We also share the same ideals and ultimate values of France and Germany so there should be no reason for these two to delegate us to the back of the room.
PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA COMMONS