The 17-nation euro currency bloc appears ready to boost the size of the continent’s bailout fund to handle future financial emergencies of its debt-ridden countries.
A new $656 billion rescue fund is set to take effect in July. But financial experts in Europe and elsewhere say the fund is too small, and should be increased to cover debts in some of the continent’s bigger economies, such as Italy and Spain, if they ever neared default and needed outside assistance. Already, the continent has used a smaller, temporary bailout fund to rescue Greece, Ireland and Portugal with billions of dollars in aid.
European news agencies reported Friday that the eurozone finance ministers, when they meet at the end of the month in Copenhagen, could add $252 billion remaining in the interim fund to the new account to create a rescue fund of more than $900 billion.
That still would be less than some analysts say is necessary. But Germany, with Europe’s strongest economy, has opposed creation of what it believes would be too large a fund. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a group of industry leaders a compromise on the size of the fund could be reached.
But she said that it is important there is no "permanent, incalculable increase of the funds."