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Finland set to authorise Portugal bailout: official

Finland is expected to back Portugal’s bailout within the next 48 hours, dismissing opposition from eurosceptic nationalists negotiating a role in a new coalition, a Finnish government official told AFP on Monday.

The official said Finnish parties that supported Helsinki’s ratification of funds for European Union rescue mechanisms for distressed eurozone states are in a position to drive through a mandate for the country’s caretaker finance minister in a parliamentary committee vote on Wednesday.

They “can do so alone,” the official said, thus sidelining the True Finns, who scored a breakthrough 20 percent vote in last month’s general election on a platform demanding that Finland, one of the eurozone’s richest Triple-A rated states, withdraw further bailout backing.

“The grand committee decision gives the finance minister a mandate to say yes at Eurogroup and EU meetings on Monday and Tuesday,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Finance ministers from the 17-nation eurozone and full 27-member EU meeting in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, facing Portugal’s recue request.

“It’s a bit technical, but since we don’t have a government, the decision will be made by the grand committee,” the official added.

While Finland’s full parliament would be expected to confirm that decision once a government coalition is agreed, he said the political precedent would make it doubly difficult for Helsinki then to renege on rubber-stamping by currency and EU partners of bailout assistance negotiated by the EU in Lisbon.

He added that the decision would almost certainly be communicated in advance on Tuesday, when Finland’s political parties feed their position to officials tasked with piloting the bailout through difficulties brought on by the Finnish popular vote.

Last week, EU and International Monetary Fund officials announced that a package had been agreed with Portugal granting 78 billion euros of loans in exchange for a package of cuts and reforms in the third eurozone state to need help after Greece and Ireland.