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20th Jan 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.

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“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.

Focus

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 bleeding untold billions to fraud

Over €6bn of EU taxpayers' money was stolen by criminals in recent years and over €130m is still being lost each year, EU auditors said.

ECB takes over ailing Italian bank

Decades of mismanagement appear to have caught up with Italy's Carige bank as the European Central Bank takes control in a move to stave off another banking crisis.

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