(Adds French parliamentary calendar in fifth paragraph.)
Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Euro-area officials signed the treaty to create a permanent aid fund on July 1, trying to jump-start the ratification process and prevent a delay due to France’s elections in April.
They also renewed a pledge to reassess a 500 billion-euro ($658 billion) ceiling on overall rescue lending in March.
The European Stability Mechanism treaty will go to national governments for ratification after a signing ceremony in Brussels today, the European Union said. The goal is for it to become operational on July 1, a year earlier than previously planned.
“This permanent crisis mechanism will contribute to raising confidence and ensuring solidarity and financial stability in the euro area,” EU President Herman Van Rompuy said in an e-mailed statement.
France’s parliament provisionally scheduled a debate on Feb. 21 to vote on the ESM and on the treaty modification its implementation requires.
The fiscal compact endorsed by 25 EU countries at the Jan. 30 summit that completed the ESM treaty won’t be considered before France’s May presidential elections and June legislative elections, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after the summit.
--With assistance from Helene Fouquet in Paris. Editors: James Hertling, Jeffrey Donovan
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