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Merkel shows no sign of giving ground on rescue fund boost

(Xinhua)

10:38, January 19, 2012

BERLIN, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday showed no sign of giving ground to market calls for boosting her country's contribution to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), after massive downgrades of eurozone nations and the rescue fund itself.

"I'm still trying to figure out what more Germany should do for other eurozone countries," Merkel said in a press conference when asked what Berlin would do to enhance solidarity within the eurozone after the downgrading.

After ratings agency S&P cut ratings of the EFSF from AAA to AA+ on Monday, three days after downgrading nine eurozone member states including France and Austria, markets and officials are calling Germany and other European nations with triple A status to contribute more to support the credibility of the bailout fund.

However, Germany seemed unwilling to throw more soldiers into the battle field. On Monday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that his view is the guarantees for the EFSF are "largely enough" for its function in the coming months.

Merkel had said that she did not believe the downgrades of eurozone neighbors would in any way "have impacts on Germany having to do more than others."

The EFSF, a crucial rescue fund for heavily indebted nations like Greece, are highly dependent guarantees from the eurozone's AAA countries -- Germany, Luxembourg, Finland and the Netherlands for its current 440-billion-euro (563 billion dollars) lending capacity. Germany is the largest contributor for the fund, with 211 billion euros of guarantee commitment.

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