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Sun, 21 Feb, 2016 01:10:42 AM
FTimes-STT Report, Feb 21

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Finance Minister Alexander Stubb on Saturday characterised the agreement between the EU and the UK as expected.

They said in the long and carefully-tuned agreement, the UK must be given, among other things, the right to restrict employment benefits to workers from other EU countries.

“The agreement is a pretty good deal, for both Britain and the EU,” Stubb told the news agency STT.

Foreign Minister Timo Soini, on the other hand, believes the agreement is still too narrow and expects it will receive fierce criticism in the UK.

Soini wrote in his blog that the compromise is better than nothing and far from what the crowd wanted.

Subb believes there will be intense verbal sparring in the UK in the springtime, and that the referendum will be on the crucial issues, not just those negotiated in the agreement in Brussels.

“Will the voter feel that he or she is a part of Europe? Or will some external factor affect the outcome of the vote,” wondered Stubb.

One of the most contentious issues in the negotiations was the rights of Britain to restrict child support to children living in other EU countries. The right applies to other member countries as well.

Sipilä believes those receiving the monetary benefits “can be overwhelmed by the bureaucracy.”

According to Sipilä, child support paid from Finland to other countries is a very small part of the total, and their indexing increases the administrative burden.

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