EURO CRISIS

Quick decisions needed to shore up Spanish economy, says PM

Rajoy tells EU leaders they “must be conscious this is a money issue” Brussels unlikely to change banking aid rule

Brussels -

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called on European Union leaders Thursday to come up with new and quick ways for member states to seek financing, including using the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help small and midsized businesses.

Racing against the clock to find some quick solutions to the EU’s deepest crisis since its creation, Rajoy met in Brussels with the bloc’s other leaders for an urgent summit to work on ways to ease market pressure on Spanish and Italian debt.

Before the summit, Rajoy spoke to his political colleagues of the European People’s Party (EPP), where he said Spain was asking “more from Europe.”

“We are trying to borrow money at very high rates, and there are many public institutions that cannot even obtain financing,” he said.

“This is a money issue. The European Union and Economic and Monetary Union [the Eurogroup] must be conscious of this and they must make a decision.”

Rajoy was not optimistic that concrete measures will come out of this two-day summit, which ends Friday. “It is true that the majority of the decisions that are taken must be made unanimously and this also complicates things further,” he said.

One measure that will probably not pass is Spain’s call to allow the bank bailout package to go directly to the financial institutions rather than pass through the Spanish government. Germany is staunchly against any move to lessen government responsibility.

Spain has sided with France and Italy in calling on Germany and other countries that favor Chancellor Angela Merkel’s strict austerity measures to find ways to promote growth as well as emergency action to bring down Spanish and Italian borrowing costs, before the two countries are forced out of the bond market. Specifically, they want the European Central Bank (ECB) to intervene fast. The European leaders were meeting at press time.

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