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    EU to increase crisis fund to 25 billion euros

    AP
    29.10.2008 - 14:21 | Son Güncelleme:

    The European Commission said on Wednesday it wants to more than double its crisis fund for troubled European Union states to 25 billion euros ($31 billion).

    The EU's economy chief Joaquin Almunia said he would ask EU governments to increase the amount they can lend countries in financial trouble. The current limit is 12 billion euros ($15 billion).

    The EU on Wednesday promised Hungary a loan of 6.5 billion euros ($8 billion) as part of a 20 billion euro ($25 billion) international rescue package.

    EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said EU governments were prepared to give money to other member states facing serious financial problems.

    He also said the EU executive would try to cushion the blow of the economic downturn on households and jobs.

    He blamed plunging stock markets on lack of confidence in the economy. Shares have failed to gain much ground despite efforts by governments to soothe financial turmoil by pumping money into the banking sector.

    ``People are expecting the negative effects on the so-called real economy and that's why it's important ... that we are acting in a coordinated way to address the problems of the real economy,'' Barroso said.

    He said his top priority was to minimize the impact of slowing growth and keep unemployment to an absolute minimum.

    The EU executive is suggesting more funds for training the unemployed and helping them start new businesses.

    Barroso said governments should also consider giving more money to the European Investment Bank that could direct funding to infrastructure projects or provide loans for small businesses hit by the credit crunch.

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