Tue, Dec 20, 2011 - Page 10 News List

EU to ask Britain for 30.9 billion euro boost: report


EU ministers will ask Britain to contribute 30.9 billion euros toward an IMF package aimed at rescuing the single currency, the Daily Telegraph reported yesterday.

Britain will be asked for the cash injection, equivalent to US$40.3 billion, when EU finance ministers hold talks over the 200 billion euro fund (US$260 billion) scheduled for yesterday, an EU official told the Telegraph.

If Britain agrees, it would be the second-biggest contributor to the package behind Germany and level with France. However, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who blocked plans for EU treaty changes aimed at saving the currency, has repeatedly promised not to directly fund a bailout kitty.

Britain is already liable for 14.3 billion euros of loans and guarantees to Greece, Ireland and Portugal. With several members of the 17-strong eurozone, of which Britain is not a part, under threat of credit rating downgrades, the key focus of the telephone conference will be to boost coffers to enable the new fund to come to the aid of floundering economies.

A government source said on condition of anonymity that the so-called eurogroup ministers would “discuss what happens after the European summit of Dec. 8 and Dec. 9” on saving the eurozone.

At that summit, member countries announced plans to pump 200 billion euros into the warchest.

Eurozone members were to provide about three quarters, and other EU countries the rest. The aim was to allow the IMF to come to the aid of eurozone countries in trouble, and the summit gave leaders 10 days to work out the details.

The eurosceptic wing of Cameron’s Conservative Party is urging their leader to resist attempts to make Britain pay towards any bailout of heavily-indebted eurozone nations.

“We did not agree any increase in bilateral resources last week,” a spokesman for Cameron said on Friday. “We made very clear in that meeting that we were not contributing to that 200 billion euros.”

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