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New eurozone firewall may lead to more IMF funds: EU Commissioner

(Xinhua)

08:55, March 31, 2012

COPENHAGEN, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Expanded eurozone bailout funds will reassure Europe's international partners, and encourage them to put more resources into supporting the global economic recovery, European Union (EU) Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said here Friday.

"The euro area member states have made a crucial contribution to the strengthening of global firewalls, and responded to calls from our global partners, from the G20, and among them, the BRICS countries," Rehn said at a press conference at the ongoing informal ECOFIN meeting in Copenhagen.

"We are satisfied by this decision.... I see this as a very significant and lasting decision," he added, referring to the eurozone countries' decision to boost the overall size of the euro area's bailout funds to 800 billion euros.

The new firewall is comprised of the 500 billion euro permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM), 200 billion euros in existing commitments under the temporary European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), and other smaller contributions.

Rehn said the firewall signals greater stability in Europe, and could "pave the way" for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to put more resources into the euro firewall, which would also aid the global economic recovery.

The IMF holds its spring meeting in mid-April, in Washington D.C., and expectations were high for a euro area deal on the bailout funds before that event.

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