Bloomberg News

Malta Fails to Approve Enhanced Europe Financial Rescue Fund

October 05, 2011

(Updates with Geithner’s comment in third paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Malta, one of three euro-area nations yet to approve an enhanced rescue fund to counter the region’s debt crisis, failed to vote on the measures after an opposition lawmaker raised procedural objections.

Acting speaker Vincent Galea said last night that a debate in parliament would resume on Oct. 10. The session finished at 1 a.m. without the vote taking place after queries were raised by former Premier Alfred Sant.

Slovakia and the Netherlands are also yet to approve passage of the bloc’s main defense against the sovereign-debt crisis spreading, while the other 14 members of the euro area have already signed up. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner yesterday added to pressure for European officials to move more quickly, saying they need to build confidence and “hold this thing together.”

While Malta’s opposition Labour party has said it will vote in favor of the legislation, Sant raised questions about the legality of the procedure for tabling the bill.

Dutch lawmakers are due to decide today after a majority of parliament signaled suppport. In Slovakia, where ruling parties are yet to reach an accord on the measures, a vote is set for Oct. 11.

The enhanced powers of the 440 billion-euro ($587 billion) EFSF were approved at a July 21 meeting of European leaders in Brussels. The measures would allow the fund to buy the debt of distressed euro-area nations, aid troubled banks in the region and offer credit lines to governments. The EFSF’s current role is to sell bonds to finance rescue loans.

--Editors: Paul Panckhurst, Ken McCallum

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Blanche Gatt at bgatt@bloomberg.net


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