EU ministers to thrash out bailout plans

EU leaders will hold a crunch meeting next week to discuss a coordinated plan to tackle the Eurozone debt crisis.

Despite signs that volatility in European bond markets is abating, European commissioner for monetary affairs, Olli Rehn, said it was time for Europe to show proper coordination, and throw its weight firmly behind its shared currency.

He said: “We have to take well-coordinated action to safeguard stability in the euro area. We will not stop until we have accomplished our mission.”

Eurozone finance ministers took no extra action to tackle the crisis this week, saying a €750bn (£628bn) fund was sufficient to deal with Ireland’s bailout and any potential problems spreading to Portugal or Spain.

However, EU finance officials have repeatedly warned there is no room for complacency, pointing to a period when markets calmed down over the summer and the subsequent turmoil.

The summit, to be held on 16 and 17 December, is supposed to agree on the shape of a permanent mechanism for handling a future crisis.

But the discussion will also focus on how to handle the immediate situation. There is growing divergence between Germany and other member states on what measures to take, including over whether euro area bonds make sense, and whether the European Central Bank might buy more distressed debt.

France added its voice to Germany’s staunch opposition to the idea of euro bonds yesterday, saying it saw little need for such an instrument, which would effectively mean all 16 Eurozone member states sharing debt issuance and credit risk.

Instead, what analysts say could emerge at the summit is a commitment to enlarge, or at least consider enlarging, the €750bn European financial stability facility.