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Finnish bailout approval rests on Social Democrats: MP

Finnish approval of a rescue package for Portugal rests on the country’s second-largest party, the Social Democrats, who will most likely accept the deal, a key Finnish member of parliament said.

“If the Social Democrats (SDP) say no, then that automatically means Finland will also say no to the rescue package,” Kimmo Sasi, the MP in charge of creating a proposal to approve the bailout, told Finnish news agency STT late on Monday.

The SDP was meeting shorly after mid-day and was expected to give its view on the proposal later in the day.

Sasi, a member of the centre-right National Coalition, said he thought the SDP would back the package despite having previously said it would do so only if the European Union’s rescue deal required banks and investors to take more responsibility for the bailout.

While the SDP has not yet offered an opinion on Sasi’s proposal, the third-place True Finns party has already announced it would oppose it, while the National Coalition, which became Finland’s largest party after the April 17 elections, is in favour.

Sasi is leading a working group made up of MPs from every party aiming to come up with a proposal that would obtain majority support in parliament.

The parties’ opinions on the proposal are seen as a strong signal ahead of a meeting on Wednesday of the so-called Grand Committee, which sets Finland’s EU policy and will formally rule on the proposal.

Outgoing Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen needs the committee’s green light to support the Portuguese bailout at a meeting of EU finance ministers on May 16.

Finland is the only EU country that needs its parliament’s approval of Portugal’s rescue package, and one of only six eurozone countries to have a triple-A credit rating, making it a crucial backer of EU bailout packages.