May 14, 2012 / 10:11 AM / 7 years ago

Greece can't reject bailout and keep euro: Finland

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Greece cannot stay in the euro zone if it tears up its bailout deal, as envisaged by the leader of the country’s leftist SYRIZA grouping, Finland’s European affairs minister said.

“I think that is an impossible equation and I think in that sense it is an irresponsible statement,” Alexander Stubb said on Monday.

“We fully realize that the precondition for Greece staying in the euro zone is for it to fulfill the engagements that it has made to the IMF, to the European Central Bank and to the commission.”

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has said he wants Greece to stick to the single currency but pull out of its 130 billion euro EU/IMF bailout program.

SYRIZA, which came in second in inconclusive elections earlier this month, has ruled out taking part in a coalition government with parties that back the EU/IMF bailout, all but ensuring a repeat election that will be necessary in a few weeks to break the country’s political deadlock.

Finland has retained its triple-A credit rating despite the economic and debt woes that have hit its partners in the 17-member currency bloc.

Fitch said on Friday, however, that were Greece to leave the euro zone it would was likely to put all euro area ratings on negative watch, underlining the spillover threat to economies such as Finland’s.

Reporting By Eero Vassinen; Editing by John Stonestreet

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