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Eurozone

Finland: 'Prepare for eurozone breakup'

Finnish politicians are beginning to evaluate the worst-case scenarios of the eurozone's debt difficulties. They have called on fellow European leaders to consider contingency plans should the currency union collapse.

Finland's Foreign Minister, Erkki Tuomioja, told the Friday edition of the Daily Telegraph that European leaders must be prepared for the possibility, however undesirable, of the euro area breaking up.

He stated in his interview with the right-leaning newspaper that Finnish officials had been preparing for the demise of the single currency in its present form with an operational plan for any eventuality.

Tuomioja hastened to add that a collapse of the euro wasn't anything that anybody - not even the euroskeptic opposition - in Finland was actively advocating, and especially not the government. "But we have to be prepared," he said. "It would not have to mean the end of the wider European Union and could make the EU function better in the end."

Finland's European Affairs Minister Alexander Stubb for his part told Reuters news agency that his country was 100 percent devoted to the euro and added that the foreign minister's speculation did not reflect the view of the whole government.

From bad to worse?

Finland has a veto that can block any new bailout measures and has insisted on more austerity in Greece and Spain in return for rescue loans.

The head of the euroskeptic True Finns party, Timo Soini, said taxpayers in his country were getting increasingly angry about the way the debt crisis was being handled.

"We're running out of money the way we are going," Soini warned. "Either the south or the north will eventually break away, because this currency straightjacket is causing misery for millions and destroying Europe's future."

Soini criticized that there were no rules on how to leave the euro area. That, he claimed, made it harder for anyone to make a start. "Nobody wants to be the first to get out and take all the blame."

hg/msh (Reuters, dapd)