Spanish bailout could reach €100 billion: EU
BRUSSELS A BAILOUT for Spain’s teetering banks, once requested by Madrid, could amount to as much as 100 billion euros, two senior EU sources said on Saturday.
Spain has not yet made a formal request for European aid but it could come during a conference call of eurozone finance ministers, the sources, who were both on an earlier call to discuss the technicalities of a rescue, said.
“A decision on Spain will only be taken ... by the ministers (in a second call). Madrid has not officially asked for help yet,” one of the officials said. “The statement will mention 100 billion euros as an upper limit.” The Eurogroup of finance ministers is scheduled to begin its call at 4 pm Brussels time (1400 GMT). Earlier, its chairman, Jean-Claude Juncker, called for a “quick solution”.
Several EU sources said on Friday that Madrid was expected to ask the currency bloc for help with recapitalising its banks this weekend, becoming the fourth country to seek assistance since Europe’s debt crisis began.
Asked if he expected Spain to request help, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt told public service radio: “I think that is everybody’s assessment. There is even talk about amounts up to 80 billion euros.” It is not clear whether bailout numbers will be finalised on Saturday but the International Monetary Fund gave a clear guide to what it thought was needed, saying that under a stress scenario a number of Spanish banks would need to increase capital by 40 billion euros in total. It advised seeking significantly more than that.
One of the sources who was on the earlier Saturday call said Spain did not want IMF involvement in the package for its banks.
Eurozone policymakers are eager to shore up Spain’s position before June 17 elections which could push Greece closer to a eurozone exit and unleash a wave of contagion.
Spanish Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria repeated on Saturday the government’s argument that it should not act until it sees a separate audit of the banking system due by June 21 from two independent assessors, Oliver Wyman and Roland Berger.
But officials in Spain also said the parameters for the IMF and the private sector audits were effectively the same, meaning Spain could make the request for aid on the basis of the IMF figures rather than having to wait for the other assessment.
“If the government decides to seek a rescue, whatever the formula being used, we need to say two things: first the innocent should not suffer for the guilty, second public money should come back to public coffers,” said Socialist opposition chief Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba after speaking with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday morning.