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EU doubles fund for emergency lending to eastern members
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21:52, May 05, 2009

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European Union (EU) finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to double the fund for emergency lending to eastern European members to 50 billion euros (67 billion U.S. dollars).

Under the agreement, the ceiling of the EU's financial support facility will be raised from the current 25 billion euros (33.5 billion dollars) in the light of the economic and financial crisis.

"The increase is intended to cater for potential new demands from member states for medium-term support to their balances of payments," the finance ministers said in a statement on the sidelines of their monthly meeting in Brussels.

The ceiling of the facility, which was designed to help EU member states outside the euro zone stabilize their economies, were already doubled in December to the current amount.

But Hungary drew 6.5 billion euros (8.7 billion U.S. dollars) from the facility and Latvia used 3.1 billion euros (4.2 billion U.S. dollars) last year, while Romania is seeking 5 billion euros (6.7 billion U.S. dollars).

With more and more members in Central and Eastern Europe running into financial and economic trouble, there is a call for the EU to have more funds ready to provide emergency aid.

EU leaders agreed in principle at a summit in March to double the fund again.

Source: Xinhua

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