Thursday

18th Jul 2019

Finland: We have to prepare for euro breakup

  • Finland doesn't trust the EU officials drafting plans for a political union. (Photo: GregHickman)

Finland's foreign minister has said his government does not want the euro to break up, but that officials have to be prepared "for any eventuality."

Meanwhile, Germany's diplomacy chief is rallying former ministers in a pro-euro PR operation.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“We have to face openly the possibility of a euro-breakup,” Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja told the Daily Telegraph in an interview published on Thursday (16 August).

“Our officials, like everybody else and like every general staff, have some sort of operational plan for any eventuality," he said, adding that not even the eurosceptic True Finns party is openly advocating for the euro to break up.

Tuomioja spoke of a "consensus" over an estimate that the breakup would cost more than managing the crisis. But he also floated the idea that the common currency is not essential for the EU as such to survive.

“The breakup of the euro does not mean the end of the European Union. It could make the EU function better,” he said.

The minister expressed his scepticism over plans for a fiscal, economic and political union drafted by the heads of the EU commission, Council, European Central Bank and Eurogroup.

"I don't trust these people," he said.

Finland is the only euro-country to have demanded collateral for their contribution to the Greek and Spanish bailouts. Its stance on all things financial put it on an even more hawkish line than Germany, well-known for its reluctance to more cash being pumped into the eurozone rescue mechanisms.

In a bid to counter that image, Germany's liberal foreign minister Guido Westerwelle is planning a campaign together with all living ex-foreign ministers of his country, such as Joschka Fischer or Friedrich Genscher.

The aim is to reinforce Berlin's pledge in favour of the European project. The slogan for the action is "Us for Europe," Spiegel Online reports.

Westerwelle's party colleague and economy minister Philipp Roesler in recent weeks has not helped in shaping this Europe-friendly image of Germany.

In several interviews, the Liberal said that the prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone had 'lost its terror' and that he was disappointed with the Greeks not taking up on offers put up by his ministry and the German industry.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit in Canada on Thursday also restated her country's commitment to do everything to maintain the euro.

But she also praised Canada for not "living on borrowed money" and having a "sound budgetary policy and quite strong rules in the banking system" - highlighting her conviction that this is the only way to weather the crisis.

Finland threatens summit deal over bailout fund

Finland is rejecting a just-agreed deal on letting the eurozone's permanent bailout fund buy government bonds on the open market, a change meant to lower Italy and Spain's borrowing costs.

Finland puts Greek bailout package under pressure

The eurozone's second bailout for Greece, agreed in July, already looks in trouble as a series of smaller EU countries demands that Athens puts up collateral in return for national loans.

Much ado about Greece in Finnish EU elections

In Finland the European elections will be about Greece, at least if Timo Soini, chair of the radical right-wing populist party The Finns, previously known as the True Finns, gets his way.

EU hesitates to back France over US tariff threat

France has passed a new tax on tech companies that will affect US global giants like Facebook. Donald Trump has threatened retaliatory tariffs over it. The EU commission says it will "coordinate closely with French" on the next steps.

EU banks more vulnerable to shocks than feared

Eurozone banks, such as Deutsche Bank, might be much more vulnerable to a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis than EU "stress-tests" have said, according to a new audit.

News in Brief

  1. Selmayr to leave EU commission post
  2. EU 'appeasement' of Iran like that of Nazis, Israel says
  3. Report: EU anti-trust chief to go after Amazon
  4. Report: France to back Kovesi for EU prosecutor
  5. Trump energy leases to dump more CO2 than whole EU
  6. EU selling more goods to US despite Trump tariffs
  7. EU deplores latest Israeli demolitions
  8. EU draws up Venezuela torture sanctions

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  2. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  3. EU proposes yearly rule of law 'reports'
  4. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  5. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  6. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  7. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  8. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us