Quitting the Euro Not an Option, Finnish President Says
Finnish President Sauli Niinistoe said Tuesday that leaving the Eurozone would not help resolve the economic crisis plaguing the 17-member bloc.
"There is no fast and easy solution for the European crisis. Or, at least, I'm not able to come up with one," Niinistoe said in a speech delivered to an annual ambassadors meeting in Helsinki.
"The EU has to strive with all its might to solve the problems. Leaving the euro is not a solution," he said.
His comments came four days after controversial remarks from Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, who said Helsinki had to "face openly the possibility of a euro-break up" and prepare for such an event.
Tuomioja was later criticized, with other ministers saying the country remains committed to the euro.
Tuomioja's comments came amid another round of speculation that Greece may end up leaving the Eurozone.
Athens is having difficulty coming up with spending cuts needed to unlock 31.5 billion euros in urgently needed bailout funds and the government wants now wants to ask European partners to spread those cuts out over a longer period.
"We have been conducting our own affairs reasonably well and it is not unreasonable to require the same from others," the Finnish president said.
But, he warned, "Finland should be careful."
"We can't afford to have an arrogant and conceited policy any more than we can afford to be walked all over," he said.
Finland, the only Eurozone country to hold the top triple-A credit rating with a stable outlook at all three major international credit rating agencies, has repeated called on southern European countries to pursue more ambitious economic reforms.
It is the only country to demand collateral for its bailout help, delaying rescue help.