Thursday 22 February 2018

Debt Crisis: Commission President Barroso pledges remedies

European Commission president Jose Barroso. Photo: Getty Images
European Commission president Jose Barroso. Photo: Getty Images reporters

European Commission president Jose Barroso has announced a number of remedies to address the European debt crisis.

Addressing MEPs today, he said a quick solution to the problem is necessary while adding that the €440bn rescue fund could be used more flexibly.

He also added that Eurobonds could be introduced – a move that has already been rejected by many German politicians.

Eurobonds would make it easier for countries like Ireland to borrow on the open markets because they would be backed by all eurozone members.

But Germany has argued they would jeopardise its AAA rating.

"We should do everything possible to accelerate the entry into force of the ESM," Mr Barroso said.

"Once the euro area is fully equipped with the instruments necessary to ensure both integration and discipline, the issuance of joint debt will be seen as a natural and advantageous step for all," he said.

And he formally backed a financial transaction tax as the price banks must pay to receive €4.6 trillion in aid and guarantees given by European governments since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008.

"It is time for the financial sector to make a contribution back to society," he said.

Speaking in Strasbourg, he also ruled out Greece leaving the euro area.

But he did not indicate whether Greece will qualify for the next tranche of €8bn in bailout money.

EU/IMF/ECB auditors return to Greece tomorrow for key negotiations with the government.

"I'm glad to announce that the 'troika' (of EU, IMF and European Central Bank officials) has decided to resume the mission to Greece," EU economic affairs spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said later in Brussels.

Stock markets initially fell on ongoing uncertainty over the actual specifics of the bailout bringing this week’s rally to an end.

But they began to pick up later with London’s FTSE up 0.29pc and Germany’s DAX gained 0.19pc.

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