Euro currency member Portugal is still on its feet in the quest to avoid calling for a debt bailout like Greece and Ireland, but the European Commission has pressed EU leaders to increase emergency lending resources for the euro zone.
President of the EU executive body Jose Manuel Barroso believes the European Financial Stability Facility must be reinforced: “Prevention is worth more than correction. Since we have a euro zone, a single currency, we need to send the markets a signal that we are really ready to do everything to safeguard the stability of the euro zone.”
With the two biggest euro powers, Germany and France, saying the 440 billion euros in the fund is enough, analyst Daniel Gros looked ahead: “The Commission is basically telling member countries: ‘Look! Something has to be done. It is up to you to take the decision.’ The resistance of Germany, and also of the Spanish authorities, will only be overcome when they don’t have any other choice.”
Senior EU sources said a debt response package will probably only be ready by late March.
The euronews correspondent at the Commission added that, “Basically, these proposals will go through next week’s eurogroup meeting and then the European summit to be held in early February.”