German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble ruled out Germany contributing any more money to the beefed-up EU bail-out fund than the 211 billion euros approved by parliament, in an interview published Saturday.
“The European Financial Stability Facility has a ceiling of 440 billion euros ($590 billion), 211 billion of which is down to Germany. And that is it. Finished,” he told the magazine Super-Illu.
He also suggested the European Stability Mechanism, which is due to replace the EFSF by 2013 at the latest, would be smaller.
“Then it will be only a matter of 190 billion in total, for which we will be guarantors, including interest,” he explained.
Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, on Thursday approved the beefing up of the eurozone bailout fund, which cleared its final hurdle on Friday when it was rubber-stamped by the Bundesrat (upper house).
The vote had been seen as a crucial test of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s authority amid fears of a backbench rebellion. However she secured an overwhelming majority of her own deputies to back the move.
A majority of Germans (58%) consider it was a mistake to boost the EFSF, according to a poll to be published Sunday in the weekly Bild am Sonntag.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he wanted the debt-ridden countries put under tighter surveillance in an interview given to Saturday’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
“A right to scrutiny and make recommendations isn’t enough. The states, which in the future will benefit from the solidarity of the rescue fund, should give the European authorities the right to intervene in their budgetary decisions,” the minister said.