Vanhanen's approach in EU talks

A charge that surfaces whenever there's bad EU-related news is that Prime Minister Vanhanen (Centre Party) is a wimp who fails to properly stand up for national interest. Further, things would go better if only former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen (Social Democratic Party) was still in charge. Lipponen, the theory holds, had awesome international connections and was active in all matters EU. (As far as I can tell, an "active EU policy" seems to mean that one actively pushes for decisions that will be made regardless of whether one supports them.)

Recently Vanhanen's performance in the 141 agricultural subsidy issue has been criticized and compared unfavorably to the doubtlessly much more positive results Lipponen would obtain. Now Lipponen has defended Vanhanen's approach:

Speaking on YLE's Saturday political programme Lauantaiseura, Lipponen noted that the 141 agricultural subsidy for southern Finland was only supposed to be temporary.

He said the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sirkka-Liisa Anttila and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen have taken the right approach in talks with the EU, and deserve the full support of Parliament.

[...] [Lipponen] says Finland should not undermine constructive EU politics with threats, but try and negotiate a good compromise for all concerned.

The comments put a damper on the notion that this wouldn't have happened in Lipponen's time, I think.

Addendum: But Lipponen did say that the government and MPs should be more "active" e.g. in energy questions.

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