Finland stands 100% behind the euro: minister

Finland is totally committed to the euro, its European affairs minister insisted on Friday following comments by the foreign minister that it was preparing for a break up of the currency bloc.

"Foreign Minister Tuomioja's statement in no way reflects the Finnish government position," European Affairs Minister Alexander Stubb told AFP.

"Finland stands 100 percent behind the euro," he added.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja told Britain's Daily Telegraph: "We have to face openly the possibility of a euro-break up."

He added however: "It is not something that anybody -- even the True Finns (Eurosceptic party) -- are advocating in Finland, let alone the government. But we have to be prepared."

Tuomioja indicated that other eurozone countries had similar contingency plans.

Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger for his part advocated in another newspaper interview published Friday that the eurozone elaborate a mechanism to force a country out of the 17-nation bloc.

In comments to the Finnish news agency STT later on Friday Tuomioja said that Finland didn't expect the eurozone to break up, but that it would be irresponsible to not prepare for such an eventuality.

Stubb said his colleague had probably spoken in his personal capacity.

"The government's position is very clear: we stand pro-European and we stand to work, to improve the situation in the eurozone," he said.

Finland is the only eurozone country to hold the top triple-A credit rating with a stable outlook at all three major international credit rating agencies.

Helsinki has also taken a tough line on eurozone bailouts, seeking collateral from Greece and Spain in exchange for its aid.

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