by Stephen Mangan

August 17, 2012

from Reuters Website




This story was corrected to fix attribution of some quotes to opposition party head





European leaders must prepare for the possibility that the euro zone breaks up, Finland's foreign minister, Erkki Tuomioja, said in the Daily Telegraph on Friday.

Tuomioja said Finnish officials have prepared for the break up of the single currency with an "operational plan for any eventuality."

"It is not something that anybody - even the True Finns (a Eurosceptic opposition party) - are advocating in Finland, let alone the government. But we have to be prepared," Tuomioja was quoted as saying.

"Our officials, like everybody else and like every general staff, have some sort of operational plan for any eventuality."

"This is what people are thinking about everywhere," said Tuomioja. "But there is a consensus that a euro zone break-up would cost more in the short-run or medium-run than managing the crisis."

The article also quoted Timo Soini, head of the Finns Party who said Finnish taxpayers were angry.

"There are no rules on how to leave the euro, but it is only a matter of time. Either the south or the north will break away because this currency straitjacket is causing misery for millions and destroying Europe's future," Soini was quoted as saying.

"It is a total catastrophe. We are going to run out of money the way we are going. But nobody in Europe wants to be first to get out of the euro and take all the blame," he said.

Finland, which has a veto that could be used to block any new bailout measures, has insisted on collateral from both Greece and Spain in exchange for rescue loans.