Finland would consider leaving the eurozone rather than paying the debts of other countries in the currency bloc, Finnish Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen has said.
“Finland is committed to being a member of the eurozone, and we think that the euro is useful for Finland,” Ms Urpilainen told financial daily Kauppalehti, adding though that “Finland will not hang itself to the euro at any cost and we are prepared for all scenarios”.
The finance minister stressed that Finland, one of only a few EU countries to still enjoy a triple-A credit rating, would not agree to an integration model in which countries were collectively responsible for member states’ debts and risks.
She also insisted that a proposed banking union would not work if it were based on joint liability.
“Collective responsibility for other countries’ debt, economics and risks; this is not what we should be prepared for,” Ms Urpilainen said.
Ms Urpilainen acknowledged in an interview with the Helsingin Sanomat daily that Finland “represents a tough line” when it comes to the eurozone bailouts.
“We are constructive and want to solve the crisis, but not on any terms,” she said.
As part of its tough stance, Finland has said that it will begin negotiations with Spain next week in order to obtain collateral in exchange for taking part in a bailout for ailing Spanish banks.
Finland has also voiced concern about an agreement reached at an EU summit in Brussels last week to use the European Stability Mechanism to buy bonds to ease the unbearable borrowing costs that are squeezing Spain and other vulnerable eurozone economies.
And last year, Finland created a significant stumbling block for the eurozone’s second rescue package for Greece, agreeing to take part only after striking a collateral deal with Athens in October 2011.
Ms Urpilainen warning comes as financially troubled Cyprus, which this week took over the EU helm, complained of falling “unfairly” foul to Europe’s debt crisis and urged eurozone nations to share debt according to size.
The Russian Finance Minister also said Cyprus had asked for a €5bn loan.