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Finland PM Sipilä denies splits over Greece

Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipilä says that his ministers unanimously agreed his policy line on Greece, denying reports that the Finns Party threatened to resign from the government if a new support package was agreed for Greece. Yle’s sources suggest that Finland is set to veto any new package for Greece.

Pääministeri Juha Sipilä puhuu toimittajille saapuessaan suuren valiokunnan kokoukseen eduskunnan Piukuparlamentissä Helsingissä sunnuntaina 12. heinäkuuta.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä arrives at a meeting of the Finnish parliament's Grand Committee, which approves negotiation mandates for Finnish politicians heading to European summits. Image: Aleksi Tuomola / Lehtikuva

Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipilä says that Greece’s proposal is too “flimsy” to form the basis of a new support package. The country’s stance on support for Greece had been widely reported as harsher than any other eurozone country on Saturday, when Eurogroup leaders failed to agree a deal on new loans for the Greek government.

Sipilä said that Finland’s line is not necessarily the most hostile to a new bailout, but that it would remain confidential while negotiations are ongoing. He did say, however, that Greece’s proposals are not a sufficient basis for a deal.

"A lot has to happen for us to get a result," said Sipilä after the Grand Committee meeting of 25 MPs that decided Finland’s mandate for Sunday’s meeting of eurozone heads of government.

Sipilä denied reports that the government was split on the Greek bailout, saying that ministers were unanimous on the matter.

Trust issue

Echoing other eurozone leaders, Finance Minister Alexander Stubb said there was a trust issue with the Greek government. According to Stubb, some reforms would have to be passed by the government before a new package could be agreed.

Before the Finance Ministers handed over to a summit of eurozone heads of government, Stubb described the conditions attached to the eurogroup proposal for a bailout. 

"It has far-reaching conditionality, on three counts: Number one, it needs to implement laws by July 15," Stubb was quoted by Reuters as saying. "Number two, tough conditions on for instance labour reforms and pensions and VAT and taxes."

"And then number three quite tough measures also on for instance privatization and privatization funds. And for us the most important thing is that... this whole package has to be approved by both the Greek government and the Greek parliament and then we'll have a look."

"Insufficient information"

Saturday’s Grand Committee meeting started late as the government was unable to provide its line in time, and met with Finance Minister Alexander Stubb on the phone from Brussels airport as he headed to the Eurogroup meeting.

Committee vice-chair Tytti Tuppurainen said that the committee did not have sufficient information to take a decision on whether the government could have a mandate to either authorize a temporary or permanent expulsion of Greece from the eurozone or to grant a third bailout package for Greece.

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