Aug 18 (Reuters) - * Collateral deal with Finland needs euro zone clearance
* Greece is flexible, respects summit decisions - finmin
(Adds finance minister comment)
ATHENS, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Greece’s bilateral deal to put up collateral for Finland’s share of loans in a new bailout package agreed last month has to be cleared by the rest of the euro zone, Greece’s finance minister said on Thursday.
“The funding scheme which we have agreed in our talks with the Finns is subject to approval by the rest of the euro zone’s member countries,” Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in a statement.
His comment came after Austria, the Netherlands and Slovakia also said they want collateral on loans to Greece.
Athens and Helsinki agreed on a deal for collateral this week — proposing that Greece offers Finland a cash deposit to back loans made under a July 21 bailout deal. Finland has said the deposit plus interest would be comparable to the contribution it makes to Greece via Europe’s temporary bailout fund.
Venizelos said Greece fully respected the decions taken by leaders of the 17-nation common currency bloc at the July 21 summit and was trying to implement them.
“We have shown our goodwill and flexibility not only in implementing the new Greek programme but also in sending a clear and positive message on the euro zone’s readiness and ability to handle a new phase of the crisis which is not only or mainly Greek,” he said. (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)