Euro group talks in Brussels have run into difficulty after signals that eurosceptic populists in Finland’s ruling coalition will bring down the two-month-old government if Helsinki backs a third aid package for Greece.
Finnish opposition would prevent the euro group, meeting in Brussels, reaching a unanimous decision to open negotiations for a third Greek programe.
That raises the stakes for a planned meeting of EU leaders, scheduled for Sunday to sign off on – or bury – the prospect of further assistance for Greece.
The Finns party joined a three-way centre-right coalition in May but its leader Timi Soini, now foreign minister, has maintained that bailouts in general, and particularly bailouts to Greece, are a “pyramid scheme”.
Given the refusal of the Finns to back any third bailout in a parliamentary vote in Helsinki, liberal finance minister Alexander Stubb reportedly told his euro colleagues he could not agree to a third bailout as applied for by Athens. Government sources contacted in Finland declined to comment on the reports.
It as the second twist of the euro group meeting after reports that German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has flagged a five-year Greek exit from the euro zone as one option for resolving the five-year crisis in the country.