BRUSSELS (Reuters) - It will be up to euro zone states to decide if a deal granting Finland collateral on loans to Greece conforms with conditions of the region’s bailout for Athens agreed last month, the European Commission said on Friday.
Euro area states agreed at their July summit to allow a collateral agreement for helping Greece to be put in place “where appropriate,” Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj told a regular briefing.
He said euro zone states were considering the Finnish-Greek agreement to secure cash backing on loans made by Helsinki to Athens under the bailout plan.
Austria, the Netherlands and Slovakia said on Thursday they also wanted collateral on their loans, which an official in Athens warned would undermine the second bailout deal agreed for Greece last month.
“The euro are member states will have to assess the outcome of this bilateral discussion between Finland and Greece... Discussions are already taking place. And therefore we have no further comment at this stage but the issue is already being examined,” Altafaj said.
Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter said on Friday demands for collateral on loans to Greece should be linked to how much protection each country’s financial services firms will secure in a parallel private sector bailout for Athens.
A senior Greek government official said on Thursday Athens was not talking about collateral with countries other than Finland, with which it reached agreement on Tuesday.
Altafaj said the European Commission wanted the practicalities of last month’s summit agreements to be finalised by the end of this month, but that there was no concrete deadline.
“It’s obvious that the sooner you provide clarity about these issues, the more you contribute to restore confidence among all market participants about the boldness of our response to the current challenges, and in particular the challenge of the sustainability of the Greek debt,” he added.
Reporting by Charlie Dunmore and Justyna Pawlak, editing by Rex Merrifield, John Stonestreet