Debt forgiveness deal for Greece would be 'unfair' to Ireland which has endured significant pain to fix economy - Finnish PM
A debt forgiveness deal for Greece would be "unfair" to Ireland which has endured significant pain to fix its economy, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent in Brussels at the Summit of EU leaders, Mr Stubb said austerity has worked and Greece cannot expect any free rides from its European neighbours.
Asked whether Troika programmes like Ireland had extracted too high a social cost, Mr Stubb said:
"I disagree with that criticism, if you look at countries like Ireland, they have actually managed quite well. There has been a lot of structural change, there has been balancing of budgets, good economic indicators, and now economic growth."
Paying tribute to the adjustments made by the late Brian Lenihan in Ireland and in Portugal, Mr Subb said: "So, they [Ireland] have done exactly the right thing. All I am worried about is the countries that didn't do that in 2008 and 2009 will be in trouble next."
Speaking to reporters, Mr Stubb was unequivocal that Greece should stick to its commitments.
"I don't think we should give any room to populism in Europe, we have commitments, we have agreements and we must stick to them."
He said: "We believe Greece shall and should stick to its agreements and commitments. That is what European integration is all about. If there was any slippage in those commitments it would be unfair to those who paid and unfair to those countries who have had very difficult programmes themselves, Ireland, Portugal and Spain."
He added: "We expect Greece to do their bit. The compromise is quite clear. If Greece wants an extension of the programme, which we think it would be in the best interest of Greece, then they will have to continue structural change. The one overseeing that change is the IMF which has 70 years of experience in dealing with these types of situations."
Mr Stubb said Europe needs a deal on Greece by Monday in order to facilitate agreement in capitals across the country in time.
He again reiterated his hard line stance that Greece cannot be given any "free ride".
"We have tried to help Greece for the past five years, and we will continue to do that, because it is in our vested interest, but it is also about European solidarity. But one should have no illusions we are not building any kind of free programmes or free rides. Commitments need to be abided by," he said.