TALLINN— Estonia's parliament on Thursday gave the official green light for the newest member of the euro zone to participate in the planned European Union bailout fund, a move that puts the Baltic nation on the hook for up to €1.3 billion ($1.63 billion) worth of assistance for debt-ridden countries in the currency area.
Joining the European Stability Mechanism has been a much-discussed topic in Estonia during the summer. In July, the Supreme Court of Estonia dealt a victory to the country's pro-ESM finance minister, Jürgen Ligi, by delivering a verdict that joining the ESM isn't against the country's constitution, despite outcry by the opposition. The court's decision needed to be followed by approval in the parliament.
With the green light, Estonia now has to pay about €150 million as a down payment to the ESM. If there should be a need to pay in extra money, the parliament will need to approve this decision.
Estonia is the newest and among the poorest members of the euro zone with a state budget only slightly over €6 billion a year. The law was supported by 59 members of parliament, with 34 voting against it.