Finland gives its backing to EFSF extension

THE FINNISH parliament yesterday backed extending the powers of the Eurozone bailout fund as members of the ruling coalition sought to keep the country on a pro-Europe course.

Lawmakers comfortably supported the new powers for the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), with 103 in favour, 66 against and 30 absent from yesterday’s vote.

The Finnish government is under pressure from voters fed up with bailing out other European nations, particularly after the eurosceptic True Finns made strong gains in April elections to become the leading opposition party.

All parliamentarians from the six coalition parties agreed to the 21 July proposal by Eurozone leaders to allow the EFSF to give precautionary loans to countries and buy sovereign bonds when needed.

Will pass the bailout today but the governing coalition could see a significant rebellion, in a blow for Merkel.

The bill is very likely to pass despite the government failing to fast-track it.

Even if some MPs rebel, the euro-phile opposition will ensure passage.

Could defeat the bill if junior coalition partners are not persuaded.