ECONOMY

Austria kicks up fuss about Finnish collateral deal

Austria opposes Finland’s deal with Greece on collateral for loans and will demand collateral as well if eurozone countries approve Finland’s deal, a spokesman from Austrian finance ministry was quoted in a newspaper report as saying.

“The collateral model has to be open to all the euro zone countries. We will figure out if that’s the case,» Harald Waiglein from the finance ministry told Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in a phone interview.

Earlier this week Finland reached a deal with Greece on collateral, its key condition for joining to help the debt-burdened country.

The agreement between Finland and Greece will allow the southern European nation to deposit cash in a state account that Finland will invest in AAA rated bonds. The interest generated will raise the amount to match the required collateral. Finland will return the money, plus interest, once the bailout loan is repaid, Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen said.

If Greece is unable to pay back its loans to the temporary stability mechanism, Finland would take possession of the capital put up by Greece following a procedure agreed upon in advance.

If Greece pays off its debt, it would get back the money that it put up as collateral, as well as the income derived from it.

Details on the timing and exact amount are still to be determined after the extent of private participation in the bailout has been hammered out on the European level, Urpilainen said, likening the timeframe to the 15 to 30 years discussed for the private sector?s role.

?The collateral will be invested to bring the highest possible return,? she said. ?We will have a central role, as this arrangement will take place under Finnish law. We will consult Greece on deciding which securities the funds will be invested in.?

[Combined reports]