Skip

To The Finland Station
May 10, 2011 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Portugal, in the throes of an IMF / EU bailout that Finland could block, sends a video letter to convince Finland to support the rescue effort. Finland responds. Bonus: crisis the focus of Portugal's Eurovision entry this year.
posted by chavenet (59 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pretty sure that arigato/obrigado connection has been disproven, hasn't it?
posted by Riptor at 10:58 AM on May 10, 2011


Northern Europe and Southern Europe have fundamental cultural differences, this "video letter" underscores how far apart they are, eventually the northerners are going to stop paying the debts of the southerners, despite YouTube commercials. I've heard detractors say the EU will eventually split along the north-south line, somewhere, just too large a gap to unify.
posted by stbalbach at 11:00 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's nice that so many European countries can make light of the fact that their political and institutional structures over the last 30-40 years have left them bankrupt and with birth rates well below replacement rates.

But go ahead and keep bragging about how few patents you have, Portugal.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:03 AM on May 10, 2011


Why do the Portuguese have a british guy narrating their video?
posted by Aizkolari at 11:05 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've heard detractors say the EU will eventually split along the north-south line, somewhere, just too large a gap to unify.

That's what they thought about the US too once upon a time. ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:05 AM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hockey on rollerblades? Seriously?
posted by koeselitz at 11:10 AM on May 10, 2011


Finland should be forever deprived of a say in anything based on their Eurovision entry for this year.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:13 AM on May 10, 2011


I am not sure "ha ha, we used to have a huge colonial empire" is a great selling point to people who have been trying not to be colonized or driving colonizers out for centuries....
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:13 AM on May 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


europe should sell portugal to india...in my ideal world.
posted by lslelel at 11:14 AM on May 10, 2011


In Portugal's defense, that business of spreading peppers around the world was a great service to all of humanity.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:19 AM on May 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


Finland: we won't mock you but we're not paying for you either.
posted by three blind mice at 11:26 AM on May 10, 2011


Man, those video letters sure are full of misinformation. On the other hand, it's interesting to see the unadulterated self-mythology of nations presented in such a clear manner.
posted by Kattullus at 11:35 AM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


nice title. made me think of this.
posted by iboxifoo at 11:36 AM on May 10, 2011


I don't care what you try to convince me with your youtubes and whatnot. Numbers don't lie. Finland has higher taxes and a greater portion of its economy is taken up b the public sector (50%, those commie fucks), therefore, it is Finland that needs the bailout, since we all know higher taxes kill economies, and we can't tax our way out of budget holes. Therefore, Portugal should refuse to bail out Finland until they agree to get government spending in line with the rest of the OECD.
posted by [citation needed] at 11:47 AM on May 10, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm a Finn. The whole wider issue of the True Finns party (and how I loathe that mistranslation, "Basic Finns" and especially "Fundamental Finns" are more accurate) winning the recent parliamentary election just in time for this Portugal mess to unravel is... interesting. And worrying. Almost worth a post of its own, or as part of a larger post covering the rise of populist right-wing movements in Europe, but I'm not the one to create it. I don't know enough to have an informed opinion about all of this.

The Finnish political situation is fast becoming a quagmire, and there's going to be a shitstorm no matter which way it goes. If the bailout is approved, it's a local one, since that would mean the True Finns, despite their landslide victory and meteoric rise to being the 3rd largest party in the country, would not be part of the soon-to-be-formed government. There'd be hell to pay in the next election, if not sooner.

If the bailout isn't approved, the shitstorm would cover the whole eurozone, as far as I can tell.

Personally, I'll just duck and cover.

But yeah, that "Finland responds" video was some embarrassing bullshit.
posted by jklaiho at 11:47 AM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't care what you try to convince me with your youtubes and whatnot. [...rather, erm, interesting viewpoints follow...]

posted by [citation needed]


Eponysterical?
posted by jklaiho at 11:50 AM on May 10, 2011


Bulgaroktonos: It's not their fault really, they used up all the awesome available in the country for the next 10 years with Lordi in 2006
posted by Grimgrin at 11:55 AM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I was Finnish, facing the loss of thousands of Nokia jobs as some Microsoft Mole guts the company and turns it into a Windows Phone shop, inducing even more rapidly plummetting market share on the back of a failing platform, I'd be a fuck of a lot less cocky about the hard times of other Euro nations. They could be coming to my doorstep a lot sooner than I'd like.
posted by rodgerd at 11:58 AM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is a bit like two senile old farts bragging to each other about how cool they were as teenagers.
posted by Decani at 12:01 PM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


They could be coming to my doorstep a lot sooner than I'd like.

Your doorstep in... (profile clicky) New Zealand? Yeah I think you'll be safe for a while yet.
posted by jklaiho at 12:04 PM on May 10, 2011


Why do the Portuguese have a british guy narrating their video?

I was going to to ask if you had ever been to Portugal, but on reflection that might not be relevant as the guy doesn't sound drunk.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:06 PM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


If I was Finnish,...

Your doorstep in... (profile clicky) New Zealand? Yeah I think you'll be safe for a while yet.

Today, jklaiho learns about hypotheticals.
posted by atrazine at 12:09 PM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your doorstep in... (profile clicky) New Zealand? Yeah I think you'll be safe for a while yet.

Right-wing government running up toxic combination of record borrowing and tax cuts while slashing government spending with growth-deflating outcomes? No, we're well on the road. Our only "bailout package" is moving to Australia.
posted by rodgerd at 12:09 PM on May 10, 2011


It's nice that so many European countries can make light of the fact that their political and institutional structures over the last 30-40 years have left them bankrupt and with birth rates well below replacement rates.

Well, the US is one for two there.
posted by atrazine at 12:11 PM on May 10, 2011


atrazine/rodgerd, ah well, a reading comprehension fail for me. Interpreted the last sentence independently of the first.
posted by jklaiho at 12:11 PM on May 10, 2011


Well great, there goes my plans for bailing out to Portugal, meeting a nice Lisboa girl and making my Portuguese mom happy.
posted by Relay at 12:16 PM on May 10, 2011


That Portuguese YT letter is simply obnoxious.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:18 PM on May 10, 2011


"There are more Portuguese natives outside Portugal than in Portugal itself."

I'm not sure that this is something to be proud of. Maybe all those Portuguese had a reason to leave their country, such as fleeing from a sinking ship.
posted by sour cream at 12:44 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another reply. It doesn't really work if you haven't seen the skit.
posted by Authorized User at 1:04 PM on May 10, 2011




It's nice that so many European countries can make light of the fact that their political and institutional structures over the last 30-40 years have left them bankrupt and with birth rates well below replacement rates.
Typical doomsayer bullshit. Portugal had a massive housing boom, but their finances were fine before the economic collapse, they were running a budget surplus. The Euro thing is a problem, since countries devalue their own currency. However the birthrate critique makes little sense. Birthrate declines with wealth. If birthrates are low, it's due to the fact that people are wealthy. They US's birthrates are also below replacement levels but we have much more immigration.
posted by delmoi at 1:05 PM on May 10, 2011


I vote that all nations of the world simultaneously walk-away from their debts. Just walk away. Kind of like upside-down homeowners in Florida.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:07 PM on May 10, 2011


Anyway I don't really get the point of the 'letter'. They seem to be mostly saying "we are awesome"
posted by delmoi at 1:08 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being wholly ignorant of the politics of Portugal I don't know if this one is accurate, but it does offer a viewpoint.
posted by Authorized User at 1:12 PM on May 10, 2011


I vote that all nations of the world simultaneously walk-away from their debts. Just walk away. Kind of like upside-down homeowners in Florida.

Or just quit the Euro and revalue their currency. Quick way to end shame!
posted by KokuRyu at 1:14 PM on May 10, 2011


What Ireland can learn from Iceland’s economic recovery

Economists demand EU sovereign default plan

There might otoh be some long term economic benefit if these bailouts caused as much pain as possible for the political class in Portugal, Greece, etc. You might for example institute some property or land value tax to help pay off the creditors in Brussels, Germany, etc., i.e. make the old money pay up rather than just taking the pensions.

p.s. What mefis needs to know about Sweden and Norway.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:22 PM on May 10, 2011


I'm not sure that this is something to be proud of. Maybe all those Portuguese had a reason to leave their country, such as fleeing from a sinking ship.

Well, I imagine the Fascist dictatorship that only ended in the 70s probably didn't help with that any.
posted by rodgerd at 1:29 PM on May 10, 2011


The EU is a weird political entity in the sense that because of the thick grid of barriers of language and culture, most people in the EU have at best a very vague understanding of the political life and nature of public discourse known by the vast majority of other EU citizens. I posted a question at Ask some time ago reflecting this.

But if there's one thing we are all familiar with is Eurovision and its national promotion videos. So diplomacy by kitsch it is.
posted by Anything at 1:48 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


This video response* sums up accurately the intellectual atmosphere in the current Finnish political discussion regarding the Portuguese bailout. Almost all parties are accusing each other of flip-flopping, except the True/Basic/Fundamental/Standard Issue/Elementary/Rudimentary Finns party who are being criticized of being populist simpletons.

The coming Finnish coalition talks, which have already been postponed a week, appear difficult because the political consensus is that True Finns should take responsibility in the cabinet. True Finns are however strongly against the Portuguese bailout, and besides xenophobic populism, their political objectives are largely unknown (even to themselves, I think).

It seems unlikely to me that Finland would actually veto the bailout, because most parties support it, with varying conditions, apparently in an effort to shift political blame later on to others if the loans go bad. What most likely happens is that the Portuguese bailout is approved and True Finns are allowed to oppose it but are still included in the coalition.

*warning: incomprehensible even if you're Finnish and remember a certain tonnin seteli sketch.
posted by ikalliom at 2:30 PM on May 10, 2011


I'm portuguese. I apologize for the idiotic moron (far right winger with monarchic tendencies) who put this together. On the other hand, it's the perfect example of what causes Portugal's problems: a lack of basic education.

(there's been tons of portuguese bloggers setting the record straight and there's hardly one fact in that video that is true. sigh.)
posted by lucia__is__dada at 3:00 PM on May 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


(I also apologize for the stupid reference/emotional blackmail to some food aid we gave the finns in 1940 - as if a major financial fuckup in a country where almost everybody has more than one cellphone (they say) was even remotely comparable to what the finns went through back then)
posted by lucia__is__dada at 3:08 PM on May 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I vote that all nations of the world simultaneously walk-away from their debts. Just walk away. Kind of like upside-down homeowners in Florida.

I'm sure the Germans -- and all the other countries who would be left holding the bag -- will just be totally a-okay with that plan.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:32 PM on May 10, 2011


Ah, I watched the end of the video, it's 90% boring factoids with no coherent narrative or seeming point (beyond 'we were awesome at various points in history') and then a dig at finland.
posted by delmoi at 3:38 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Simple Finns are xenophobic alright, but they can't be called right-wing. Their politics are quite a bit of left of the center, but without the Comintern connection.
posted by zeikka at 3:42 PM on May 10, 2011


Kadin2048: Oh yeah, like Germany has ever caused any problems when it feels like it's been financially exploited by foreign countries during a global economic downturn.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:32 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, you know who else wasn't all that right-wing? That's right, the BNP. Ok, that's not the best possible parallel, but the True Finns belong firmly into the authoritarian centrist (fascist) part of the two-dimensional political compass. True Finns do not seem as extreme as the BNP or Sverigedemokraterna in Sweden. If anything, they appear watered-down far-right.
posted by ikalliom at 4:35 PM on May 10, 2011


Any American trying to gauge EU politics is going to be working with one had tied because the axes are a bit different there.
posted by MidSouthern Mouth at 5:00 PM on May 10, 2011


Swede here. The True Finns are right on target, IMO. Maybe if the Portugese got thier heads out of their asses, stopped making videos begging for money, and actually got to work instead; maybe then they could start getting their finances in order and stop it with constant economic mismanagment. Portugal and Greece have recived shit-tons of funds from the EU for several decades now, and all of it from net contributors such as Denmark, Germany, Sweden and... Finland. Enough is enough.
posted by livingdots at 5:17 PM on May 10, 2011


Celsius1414: That's what they thought about the US too once upon a time. ;)

Yeah and the only thing that stopped it was a war that killed a whole lot of people and left half the area fought over a complete mess.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 5:56 PM on May 10, 2011


I'm starting to think that we need a new political paradigm.
Nation-states seem to be more trouble than their worth.
posted by Three Books at 6:26 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that Ireland, Greece and Portugal will not be able to continue in the Euro. There doesn't seem to be much of an alternative here. This is like watching Breton Woods unravel in the 1970s.
posted by humanfont at 6:45 PM on May 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any American trying to gauge EU politics is going to be working with one had tied because the axes are a bit different there.

I think I gauged the heck out of that part where they called us stupid pretty well. I also don't understand what this video was supposed to accomplish, other than encouraging outsiders to go get some popcorn to munch on while they watch what happens.

I also have a strong urge to go deliberately answer surveys wrong now. Let's see. Portugal is a province of the Duchy of Olympus Mons, on Mars, where I am Pegasus-King.
posted by SomeOneElse at 8:11 PM on May 10, 2011


To understand the real nature and purpose of the bailouts, we first have to understand who really benefits from them. Let's follow the money.

The Wall Street Journal first publishes True Finn leader Timo Soini's opinion piece and then erases parts of it.
posted by Anything at 1:33 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


All those nation states still owe money in euros however, humanfont. All those nations could default without leaving the euro and might still default even if they do leave.

Thanks for the WSJ Caught Blatantly Scrubbing link Anything
posted by jeffburdges at 3:46 AM on May 11, 2011


I am not saying that Simple Finns is not an ugly movement, but I am saying that they are not right of center on economical and many other issues.

They are mapped conservative on social issues -- Soini is even vocal about abortion, which is pretty much unheard of in Finland. On rest of the policies they are pretty close to Social Democrats.

See Helsingin Sanomat's interactive chart:
Finnish Party Values

X axis is right vs. left; Y axis is about (social) values on liberal conservative scale. On the right hand side choose only Perussuomalaiset under Valitse puolueet header and you see where they are mapped.

They are xenophobic idiots comparable to Tea-Partiers alright, but they just happen to be socialists.
posted by zeikka at 8:00 AM on May 11, 2011


WSJ responds (story mostly in Finnish):

”We cut the longer op-ed that ran in Europe for a U.S. audience, which we do routinely. The message and tone of the piece did not change.

The piece changed on the Web because the U.S. version was substituted in for Europe's version (that was posted first) - a substitution that has also been our practice.

Anything else is just a conspiracy theory.”

posted by Anything at 9:35 AM on May 11, 2011


As dutchman I view the financial problems with Portugal, Greece etc with mixed feelings.
On the one hand I'm a big believer in Europe as a whole with a shared culture and, hopefully, shared interests. I really feel a kinship with the people from classical EU countries. (With other countries that feeling has yet to grow a bit to be honest)
Although I personally viewed the recent rapid expansion of the EU with a weary eye. The EU only works when there's a sense of shared interests and a productive way to work out differences. I don't believe that is a given with any given country. I thought we were making a big irreversible gamble by adding so many countries that had a very different governmental tradition.
But I do think we need some scale to be a contender in the world. Since we still want to be independent countries as well that comes with a lot of endless discussion. But still it's the way to go; insularity is not the answer. At least not for a tiny country like The Netherlands.

On the other hand there were some questions that could give rise to misgivings; were we consistently paying the way for other countries? Was it true that all those magnificent new roads and highways in Spain and Portugal were mostly paid for by the EU? Etc.
But it's hard to base this on fact. The economy of Europe in relation to the economy of particular countries is not something I or other voters can directly observe. So pundits have a lot of power.

All in all a union can have a few different type of foundations. It can be a historical thing, it's been that way for so long that people can hardly imagine differently. Or the union is voluntary, based on calculated shared interest. Or it's an involuntary union like siblings who didn't pick each other to live together in a family. And with the countries in question it seems to be the third type from the perspective of countries like Germany. As somebody said up thread, there comes a point where you think twice before you bail out your drunk bankrupt uncle again.

I really hope we can work this all out.

Or maybe the EU will have to shrink again for a few decades to regroup and find ways to deal with financial risk. But I hope not.
posted by joost de vries at 7:33 AM on May 13, 2011


All those nation states still owe money in euros however, humanfont. All those nations could default without leaving the euro and might still default even if they do leave.

The thing is it is sovereign debt so they can do all kinds of magic. Such as telling the creditors you now have to take our currency instead. We set the exchange rate to Euros at X even if the market values it at x-n. Bonds prices will decline and future debt issues will be at a premium.
posted by humanfont at 7:51 AM on May 13, 2011


In other Finland news, Mikael Granlund takes Finland to the lead against Russia in the hockey world championship semifinals with an absolutely ludicrous goal. Bonus: Antero Mertaranta's elegant commentary.
posted by Anything at 7:01 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Acidee!   |   Months to make, a minute and a half to watch Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post