Slovak parties strike deal to pass bailout

SLOVAKIA’S centre-left opposition party has agreed to back changes to Europe’s bailout fund yesterday in return for early elections, to be held March 2012.

The vote on boosting the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) will take place today or tomorrow after a debate both on the fund and the early poll.

Slovakia, the region’s second poorest economy, will see its guarantees for the fund rise from €4.4bn to some €7.7bn under the proposed changes.

The European Commission demanded that Slovakia hurry up, telling its parties “to rise above the positioning of short-term politics and seize the next occasion to ensure a swift adoption of the new agreement”.

Newedge’s Bill Blain said despite the deal, Slovakia’s initial defiance could stir problems: “If one country is willing to be the mouse that roars, then others may follow,” he said.