Finland gives green light to Greek bailout


HELSINKI, Aug 13: Finland on Thursday gave its approval for a third eurozone bailout package for indebted Greece, with the proviso of numerous preconditions outlined by creditors, Finance Minister Alexander Stubb announced.
“I got today a mandate to approve the third package for Greece,” Stubb told reporters at the parliament in Helsinki.
“There are 47 preconditions outlined by the  troika  to the approval of the first payment and this as well was just sealed by the Grand Committee,” he added, referring to Greece s three creditors — the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The Nordic country s Parliamentary Grand Committee — consisting of 25 of the legislature s 200 MPs — is the organ in Finland that gives the government its mandates to negotiate on EU matters.
Finland, together with Germany and some Eastern European countries, is known as one of the hardliners amongst the eurozone members, mainly due to the influence of the eurosceptic Finns Party in its centre-right coalition.
Stubb said a solution on the final details of the deal could be found at the Eurogroup s meeting on Friday. “In that case the first payment would range between 26 and 43 billion euros. The second option is that we will need a small bridge funding for the moment. Both options suit Finland.”
If the deal is delayed, Greece needs bridge financing to prevent a default next Thursday when it meets a deadline of a payment to the ECB.
Stubb added that the IMF s participation in the bailout was not a prerequisite for Finland.
“IMF s participation would account for some 15 to 20 billion euros, which would be strictly conditional as well … Finland cannot demand IMF s participation but we will support it,” he said.
Several other European parliaments need to approve the preliminary agreement of the debt deal which was outlined Tuesday in Brussels by the Greek government and its creditors.
Finland s approval was expected after Finns Party leader and Finland s Foreign Minister Timo Soini admitted Saturday his party would not stop the deal as such a move would have collapsed the three-month-old governing coalition.
The chairman of the Finns Party s parliamentary group, Sampo Terho, said the decision was “tough” for the party, which had been staunchly opposed to any new aid for Athens.
“But gritting our teeth and crying blood we approved the package because we understand Finland cannot stop the process alone,” he explained.


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