Arab Today, arab today finnish parliament approves spanish bank bailout
Last Updated : GMT 01:44:06
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Finnish parliament approves Spanish bank bailout

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Arab Today, arab today Finnish parliament approves Spanish bank bailout

Helsinki - AFP

After a heated debate, Finland\'s parliament on Friday approved a European aid package for ailing Spanish banks, as well as a deal for collateral from Spain in exchange for Helsinki\'s participation. Finland\'s participation in the EU\'s 100-billion-euro ($122-billion) Spanish bank rescue passed with 109 members of Finland\'s 200-seat house voting in favour, 73 opposing and the remainder absent. The vote was urgent as Madrid hopes to sign the formal agreement with eurozone finance ministers Friday. The Finnish parliament also approved a controversial deal reached with Spain on Tuesday in which Madrid agreed to provide collateral to Finland in exchange for its support for the bailout aimed to prevent the entire Spanish economy from being dragged deeper into the mire. Finland, one of few EU countries to still enjoy a top triple-A credit rating, has long taken a tough line when it comes to eurozone bailouts -- first seeking collateral from Greece and now from Spain in exchange for its vital support. Finland\'s share of the Spanish bank bailout amounts to about 1.9 billion euros, with collateral put at 769 million euros which will be paid in cash progressively. Parliament met Thursday for the first time during a summer break since 1962 for a heated debate, with the only two parliamentary parties in opposition demanding a no-confidence vote against the government over the collateral deal. \"We do not accept wasting the Finnish taxpayers\' money,\" Timo Soini, who heads the populist and anti-EU Finns party, told parliament Thursday. Juha Sipilae, the chairman of the formerly agrarian Centre Party, agreed, insisting \"support for the Spanish banks should be left to the Spanish banks\' owners and the Spanish state, and not be placed on the shoulders of the Finnish taxpayers.\" But on Friday, the parliament, where Conservative Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen\'s broad coalition government enjoys a solid majority, rejected the no-confidence vote. \"The 109-73 vote also means that parliament gave the government a vote of confidence,\" the parliament said Friday. After the vote, Katainen told Finnish media he was very satisfied with the result, which had been expected. \"It is a prerequisite for accountability,\" he told the Ilta-Sanomat daily. Soini of the Finns Party meanwhile said he was outraged that the Spanish bank bailout had passed, insisting it would be the last. \"Greece, Cyprus and the others should leave the euro. We will not pay more support packages,\" Soini said on the Good Morning Finland programme on public broadcaster MTV3.

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