Finland on Thursday gave its approval for a third eurozone bailout package to save Greece from default, Finance Minister Alexander Stubb announced.
"I got today a mandate to approve the third package for Greece," Stubb told reporters at the parliament in Helsinki.
The decision was made by the Nordic country’s Parliamentary Grand Committee – consisting of 25 of the legislatures 200 MPs – which gives the government its mandates to negotiate on EU matters.
Finland, together with Germany and some Eastern European countries, is known as one of the hardliners amongst the eurozone members, mainly due to the influence of the euroskeptic Finns Party in its centre-right coalition.
Several European parliaments need to approve the preliminary agreement of the debt deal which was outlined Tuesday in Brussels by the Greek government and its creditors.
Finland’s approval was expected after Finns Party leader and Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini admitted Saturday his party would not stop the deal as such a move would have collapsed the three-month-old governing coalition.
The chairman of the Finns Party’s parliamentary group, Sampo Terho, said the decision was "tough" for the party which had been staunchly opposed to any new aid for Athens.
"But gritting our teeth and crying blood we approved the package because we understand Finland cannot stop the process alone," he explained. [AFP]