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Finland: Constitutional Reforms Approved by Legislature

(Feb. 22, 2011) It was reported on February 16, 2011, that the current Parliament of Finland voted to approve constitutional amendments that include mentioning European Union membership in the Constitution. Finland joined the EU in 1995. Another amendment stipulates that any disagreement between the country' president and the government must be resolved by the Parliament and that citizens may propose legislation if it has at least 50,000 supporters. There were 144 legislators in favor of the changes and 26 opposed, with 29 legislators absent. However, the proposed changes must be approved by the new legislature, slated to be elected on April 17, in order to take effect. (Kati Pohjanpalo, Finnish Parliament Votes to Add EU Membership into Constitution (Feb. 16, 2011), Bloomberg Law online subscription database; EU to Become Part of Finnish Constitution:Committee's Proposal Would Make PM Main Representative at EU Summits, HELSINGEN SANOMAT (Feb. 17, 2011),
; Finland, EUROPA website, (last visited Feb. 18, 2011).)

Constitutional reform issues have been under consideration by a committee that submitted its proposals to Finland's Minister of Justice, Tuija Brax, on February 16. Another issue that the committee addressed was “the long-standing disagreement” over who should attend EU summits on Finland's behalf; the committee proposed that the Prime Minister represent the country “at all EU meetings requiring a state leader,” while the President would be allowed to take part in the meetings “in exceptional situations, if the government so decides.” (HELSINGEN SANOMAT, supra.) The Finnish government has also made proposals for greater proportionality in the electoral system in elections for Parliament, so that the parliamentary allocation of seats among the eight parties represented there would better reflect the division of electoral votes. Only the Social Democratic Party, the largest opposition party, is opposed to these proposals. (Id.)