Euro zone finance ministers have agreed in principle to create a permanent mechanism to handle economic crises in the single currency region.
Meeting in Madrid they also reviewed events since last weekend’s announcement of a standby loan package for debt-stricken Greece.
The gathering came one day after Athens moved closer to activating the emergency aid package by arranging talks with European authorities and the IMF for Monday.
Chairing the meeting, Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker said they are now look at something longer term to cope with difficulties the bloc might face in the future.
He told reporters: “We have agreed on the need to put in place – and we will work on it – a permanent crisis mechanism. Not a mechanism of permanent crisis, but a permanent mechanism for the crisis because we have detected weaknesses in our surveillance system and in our arsenal of tools and therefore we will work on eliminating this weakness.”
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet told the finance ministers that the situation for Greek banks remains difficult and could deteriorate further.
In Athens Prime Minister George Papandreou said he remained committed to the painful but necessary, drastic austerity measures and a new opinion poll showed Greeks unhappy with the pay freezes and tax increases but increasingly supporting Papandreou.
Ecofin discusses anti-crisis moves