Euro walkout not the solution, Finland says
HELSINKI- Agence France-Presse
Postbank workers protest against government privatization plans outside bank’s headquarters. Europe is increasingly discussing a Greek eurzone walkout. AP photoFinnish President Sauli Niinistoe said yesterday that leaving the eurozone would not help resolve the crisis plaguing the 17-member bloc.
“There is no fast and easy solution for the European crisis. Or, at least, I’m not able to come up with one,” Niinistoe said in a speech delivered to an annual ambassadors meeting in Helsinki.
“The EU has to strive with all its might to solve the problems. Leaving the euro is not a solution,” he said.
His comments came days after remarks from Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, who said Helsinki had to “face openly the possibility of a euro-break up” and prepare for such an event. Tuomioja was criticized, with other ministers saying the country remains committed to the euro. Tuomioja’s comments came amid another round of speculation that Greece may end up leaving the eurozone. Athens is having difficulty coming up with spending cuts needed to unlock 31.5 billion euros in urgently needed bailout funds and the government wants now wants to ask European partners to spread those cuts out over a longer period.
“We have been conducting our own affairs reasonably well and it is not unreasonable to require the same from others,” the Finnish president said. But, he warned Finland should be careful. “We can’t afford to have an arrogant and conceited policy any more than we can afford to be walked all over,” he said.
Finland is the only eurozone country to hold the top triple-A credit rating with a stable outlook at all three major international credit rating agencies.