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Rehn, Katainen Sceptical About Possible Irish Bailout

As euro zone finance ministers gathered in Brussels on Tuesday evening to discuss Ireland's debt crisis, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told YLE that neither Ireland nor Portugal would immediately ask the other euro countries for financial aid.

Olli Rehn Image: Valda Kalnina / EPA

He noted that the situation in the two countries is very different. Rehn stressed that the Irish government is well funded until at least the middle of next year and in no immediate need of additional financing. The Finnish commissioner also expressed concern over the divisive tone of the euro zone debate about Ireland.

Domestic Debate Brewing

Finland is reportedly against pressuring Ireland to apply for a bailout, saying EU financial aid should be a last resort. Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen said on Monday that Finland would seek guarantees from Ireland if Dublin asks for financial support from the EU. Finnish banks have more than 900 million euros in exposure to Irish debt.

Leaders of the Social Democratic Party and the Left Alliance dismissed Katainen's statement as posturing ahead of next spring's elections. The vote on the Greek bailout last May proved bitterly divisive in the Finnish Parliament. The Social Democrats, Left Alliance, Christian Democrats and True Finns all opposed lending money to the ailing country.

Finnish Banks Have Close to a Billion Euros in Irish Assets

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