What in some parts of the world, accustomed to major scandals to their officials, may seem insignificant, in Finland is a political earthquake. According to an investigation, the family of Prime Minister Sana Marin is using public funds to pay for breakfasts. How much does this cost for the Finnish state? According to the latest estimates, it’s around $ 1,000 a month, which is just over $ 30 a day.
It all began with an investigation by the Finnish tabloid Ilta-Lehti, Which revealed last week that the populist politician will spend around 300 euros ($ 367) a month on breakfast for her family, who lives with her in the official residence in Kisaranta. It was three hundred euros from the public treasury. According to his office, the prime minister and members of the same household have the right to eat breakfast and cold meals – not hot – when they stay in the official state-run residence. A privilege his predecessors already enjoyed.
Another version, based on Article 6 of the Ministerial Remuneration Law, The Head of the Finnish government grants the use of “an apartment in a government house, whose maintenance, heating, lighting, furnishings, and necessary personnel shall be paid from state funds,” but nothing was mentioned about breakfast. Moreover, former prime ministers, most of whom did not live in Kisaranta, the official residence of heads of government, were offered breakfast only on an exceptional basis. So breakfast every day, for the whole family … for some, that’s an offense.
After the scandal was revealed, the newspaper published an article last Sunday with new information indicating that the expenditures had in fact reached € 850 per month ($ 1,040)Three times what he had calculated in the beginning.
This was confirmed in A government statement, late Monday, stated that between January 2020 and May 2021, the prime minister spent 1,4363.20 euros on food at her official residence, which is around 845 euros per month.
The statement added that “this amount includes breakfast and other cold meals.”
Marin said he believed he was following the rules as they were explained to him when he took office in 2019.
“I had no idea there was any lack of clarity about the breakfast allowance.He told YLE National Station early Monday. He noted that many former prime ministers had also benefited from it, but stressed that the rules would be reviewed and updated if necessary.
on Friday, Helsinki Police said they decided to examine the case to see if anything was wrong.
Transparency and the Finnish model
These types of cases arise regularly and largely reveal the sense of transparency and typicality that characterize the Nordic countries. In Finland, they don’t joke about these things, not even the breakfasts you have at your workplace. And therefore Sana Marin has already announced that it will pay for all of her meals from now on. However, this does not preclude the initiation of a preliminary investigation.
Municipal elections are scheduled to take place in two weeks, and opponents have found a way to attack them. It certainly won’t cause a government crisis, but it should be remembered that a few years ago, a Swedish minister had to resign to use her professional credit card to pay for a bar of chocolate.
With information from RFI and Politico