Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has reiterated opposition to an economic rescue plan for Eastern Europe.
His comments came as EU leaders prepared for a summit in Brussels on Thursday, aimed at fixing a joint stance on the global crisis, before G20 talks in April. The leaders are expected to agree to squeeze the most from existing recovery plans, rather than pump more money into the economy. The UK is seen as sympathetic to US calls to stump up more funds, but other members, like France and Germany, are not. A summit draft statement says the EU will offer to contribute to a doubling of International Monetary Fund resources to combat the downturn. Topolanek, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, told newspapers a rescue package for the East of Europe would spark a panic in financial markets and risk dividing the bloc. Hungary and Latvia are having the most difficulty in the region paying their bills. They have already received aid of more than six billion and three billion euros respectively. Data this past week predicted the EU economy would shrink by more than three percent this year.