Parts sympathizes with Finns on labor issue

  • 2004-01-29
  • Baltic News Service
HELSINKI - Prime Minister Juhan Parts, who was in Finland this week on an official visit, expressed understanding for Finland's plan to delay the free movement of labor into the country for two years hence though EU enlargement will take place this spring.

According to the Finnish news agency, which covered the prime minister's meeting at the Koenigstedt manor in Vantaa near Helsinki, Parts explained that if Finland wants to advance step-by-step this has to be accepted. The topic of free movement of labor should not be overdramatized, he said, adding, however, that people's right of free movement is a mainstay of the European Union.
The Estonian PM also voiced the hope that the transfer of jobs from Finland to Estonia will not disrupt relations between the two countries, the STT agency reported. Parts pointed out that the purpose of Finnish enterprises is business, not charity, and therefore both sides stand to benefit. He noted, however, that soon it would not be very advantageous for Finnish firms to shift operations to Estonia as labor costs in the Baltic country are becoming more expensive.
Speaking about Estonia's forthcoming entry into the EU, Parts said the Baltic state intended to assume its position at the EU tables at once. Parts emphasized that EU membership offers more opportunities than risks.
The Estonian leader confirmed Estonia's intention to join the euro zone as soon as possible. According to Parts, giving up the kroon is just an emotional problem.