11 MAY 2011
By Leigh Phillips
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU economy chief Olli Rehn on Tuesday (10 May) warned Finnish political parties to back the EU-IMF bail-out package arranged for Portugal, comparing the situation to that ahead of the collapse of financial services giant Lehman Brothers in the United States in 2008, the catalyst for the global economic crisis.
"The decision on the EU-IMF programme for Portugal requires unanimity amongst all member states. Every member state counts," he said at a press conference in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
On Tuesday, Finnish prime minister-elect Jyrki Katainen consulted with political parties hoping to cobble together a parliamentary majority for the bail-out. The chamber is due to vote on Wednesday on the subject.
Commissioner Rehn suggested that the country should think beyond itself and to the whole European economy.
"I trust that Finland can support the programme for Portugal for sake of stability in Europe as a whole, including that of Finland. I hope Finland continues to play the constructive role as regards Europe that it has over the past decades and that has served Finland well."
Questioned by a Finnish reporter whether it was fair that the country should participate in the bail-out if its banks did not have a high level of exposure to Portuguese debt, Rehn said that the country "also did not have much exposure to Lehman Brothers ... but in 2009 saw an eight percent recession after Lehman Brothers collapsed."
"This shows how strongly interdependent financial markets are."
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