Euro zone finance chiefs struggle to boost bail-out

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Euro zone finance chiefs struggle to boost bail-out

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The euro zone’s money men have held talks in Brussels on ways to boost the bloc’s emergency bail-out fund.

It came as Italy’s borrowing hit record euro highs.

Greece’s Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was also in town to secure his country’s next bail-out instalment.

‘‘We have the necessary political consensus, we have the necessary national unity, but also the national commitment and determination to go ahead. Also we are ready to contribute to this very important discussion on the future of the euro zone, for a strong euro zone able to react and to send very clear messages to the market,’‘ Venizelos said.

But initial hopes of bolstering the zone’s rescue fund to around one trillion euros look to have fallen well short, with reports ministers may be forced to seek IMF help. German’s finance chief Wolfgang Schauble admitted the market situation was serious.

‘‘Yes, the rates of return for some European countries have increased dramatically on the secondary markets. We’ve seen spreads increase for some countries, as investors from some parts of the world flee from the euro zone. As a result, it’s very important for us to implement our decisions clearly. This will only be done when the structure of the single currency and fiscal union become one,’‘ Schauble said.

The European Central bank’s new head Mario Dragi and Berlin have so far refused to buckle, despite pressure on both for the ECB to ride to the euro’s rescue.

Speaking at the EU Council, our correspondent Andrei Beketov said: ‘‘Finance ministers have promised to give the go ahead to the next slice of financial aid to Greece and expressed hope the zone’s financial stability mechanism will be strong enough. We will only know if those hopes become reality next week, when EU heads of state meet here in Brussels.