Finland, Germany say Greek bailout on schedule: ministers

29th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Finnish and German ministers voiced optimism Monday that a timely compromise over collateral could be reached that would not delay the implementation of a bailout to Greece.

"We are going to stick to the calendar ... I'm very optimistic," German European Affairs Minister Werner Hoyer told reporters in Helsinki, adding he did not expect talks with Finland to force a change to the schedule.

Hoyer spoke alongside his Finnish counterpart Alexander Stubb after they discussed Finland's insistence it retain some form of collateral for the share of the Greek bailout loans Helsinki has agreed to guarantee.

Stubb also said Finland felt it was "very important" to keep the bailout on schedule.

He said Finland expected to reach a "creative solution" with the EU, after the Nordic country's initial bilateral deal with Greece on August 16 for a cash guarantee was effectively shot down by vehement opposition from Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Slovakia.

"The EU works best when it has its back against the wall and the markets panting behind it," said Stubb.

The Finnish government has said it is willing to negotiate on the terms of a deal, but that it will continue to insist on some form of collateral in exchange for backing its portion of the bailout, estimated at around two percent of the 159 billion-euro (230 billion dollar) rescue.

Hoyer said he understood Finland had to deal with domestic politics on the issue, referring to the rising public resentment to bailouts that helped the anti-EU Finns Party surge in April elections, and pushed traditionally pro-EU parties like the Social Democrats to take a more sceptical stance.

But he pointed out that every eurozone country had to contend with domestic politics on the issue, and everyone wanted some guarantee for their participation in the bailout.

"We must come up with a solution that is compatible to the interests of everybody," Hoyer said, joking that "it does not make much sense to guarantee the guarantee of the others by the guarantee for the guarantee of the guarantee."

© 2011 AFP

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