EU 'fully confident' Finland will deliver Portugal bailout

18th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The EU executive insisted Monday it is "fully confident" Finland will deliver its share of Portugal's bailout despite the eurosceptic True Finns' success in Finland's weekend polls.

As talks on 80 billion euros ($116 billion) of EU and IMF financial aid got under way in Lisbon, the European Commission said the breakthrough of far-right Timo Soini's party in Sunday's election would not scuttle the bailout.

"We are fully confident that Finland will continue to honour its commitments and we will be working with Finland in that spirit," said spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde of the emergence of the True Finns as a parliamentary force.

True Finns claimed almost a fifth of the vote and won 39 seats in the new Finnish parliament -- from a pre-election base of six -- but Ahrenkilde maintained the result "hasn't changed anything."

Finland requires any bailout contribution to be passed by parliament before any money can be handed over, meaning the True Finn party could be hold up or even sink the whole process.

"There are no change in plans," Ahrenkilde said, adding: "Really, we are not going to pre-empt the conclusion" of coalition discussions in Helsinki.

Another commission spokeswoman Chantal Hughes gave curt "No" by way of response to media reports that the commission had started contingency planning in the event of withdrawal by Finland.

This was simply "not on the table" as an option, Hughes said.

One of only a handful of Triple-A credit-rated eurozone states, Helsinki is an influential contributor to the EU's present and future bailout plans.

Analysts say the economic implications of a Finnish pull-out would be great and far-reaching but it is inconceivable at this stage that Portugal's bailout will not be concluded.

Nevertheless, they warn that the shape of permanent mechanisms for helping states that bungle their finances in future are more in doubt now than before, with other powerful states in Germany and non-euro Britain either demanding more in return for backing them, or removing their support full stop.

© 2011 AFP

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