Bloomberg News

Malta Approves Added Powers for EFSF, Shifting Focus to Slovakia

October 10, 2011

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Malta’s Parliament approved expanded powers for Europe’s temporary rescue fund, leaving Slovakia as the only euro-area nation yet to vote on the plan.

Lawmakers in Valletta voted last night to back measures that broaden the scope of the European Financial Stability Facility.

The unanimous vote came after a five-hour sitting during which opposition lawmaker and former Premier Alfred Sant raised questions about the drafting of the resolution to ratify the EFSF and the procedures followed by the Maltese parliament.

Malta seeks financial and economic stability in Europe and the “unanimous vote is a clear signal that even the smallest EU and eurozone state is loyal to its obligations,” Finance Minister Tonio Fenech said in an interview in parliament after the vote.

Slovakia’s parliament will begin debating the measure today, though allies within the country’s ruling coalition remain divided over supporting the broader powers for the bailout mechanism.

The euro has lost more than 5 percent in the past month as Europe struggles to contain the debt crisis that has spread across the continent over the last year from Greece.

The enhanced powers of the 440 billion-euro ($600 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 stressed 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: Ben Livesey, John Simpson

To contact the reporter on this story: Karl Stagno Navarra at ksnavarra@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeffrey Donovan at jdonovan26@bloomberg.net


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