EU ministers agree on euro defense package

Section:

By Raf Casert and Elena Becatoros
Associated Press
via Yahoo News
Sunday, May 9, 2010

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_europe_financial_crisis

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- European Union finance minsiters agreed Monday on a 720-billion-euro and International Monetary Fund safety net for troubled eurozone countries, hoping that it will keep markets from targeting the weaker members of the 16 countries that use the embattled euro.

Under the three-year aid plan, the EU Commission will make E60 billion ($75 billion) available while countries from the 16-nation eurozone would promise bilateral backing for E440 billion ($570 billion). The IMF would contribute an additional sum of at least half of the EU's contribution, or E220 billion, Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado said.

The EU's monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, said the agreement "proves that we shall defend the euro whatever it takes."

The agreement was reached after marathon 11-hour talks in an emergency finance ministers' meeting hastily convened Sunday amid concerns that the financial crisis sparked by Greece's runaway debt problems had begun to spread to other financially troubled eurozone countries such as Portugal and Spain.



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