Finland’s Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni on Thursday welcomed the decision of eurozone countries to launch a crisis package worth around 500 billion euros — but said it was crucial that the deal did not commit eurozone countries to joint debt instruments, or ‘coronabonds’.
"It was important to us and to many other countries that this report does not commit eurozone countries to joint debt, and I stated in the meeting quite clearly that member states taking on collective debt together is not acceptable to Finland," said Kulmuni after the meeting.
There had been extensive pressure from Italy and other countries to agree to a form of collective debt financing, which became known as 'coronabonds'.
Instead the eurozone states agreed to a 500 billion euro package including financing from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), increased loan guarantees from the European Investment Bank, and a 100 billion euro fund to support employment called SURE.
Italy had strongly resisted the kind of conditions normally imposed on countries that borrow from the ESM. Those conditions normally involve requirements to balance state finances and keep public debt in check.
The Netherlands, on the other hand, had resisted moves to ease conditionality. As a compromise, ESM borrowing to finance healthcare spending during the pandemic will not be subject to conditionality.
Kulmuni said that the details of the EIB and SURE initiatives will now be worked out.
Initially, Finland’s share of SURE contributions will be 400 million euros and EIB guarantees some 300 million euros.
"To put that into perspective, at a national level we have just put billions of euros into measures to relieve the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic," said Kulmuni.