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Slovakia approves expanded bailout fund for Eurozone

October 13, 2011 | 10:32 am

Lawmakers in Slovakia on Thursday approved a proposal to beef up Europe’s bailout fund for debt-stressed nations after the measure failed to get enough votes earlier this week.

The expanded fund, with a projected capacity of about $600 billion, is widely seen as critical for Europe to tame its debt crisis. Slovakia was the last country to give its approval to the measure, which required the ratification of each of the 17 countries that share the euro currency.

A total of 114 lawmakers voted in favor Thursday, far more than the 76 that were needed, according to the Associated Press.

The ruling coalition of Prime Minister Iveta Radicova collapsed Tuesday after a junior member refused to back the proposal. Members of the libertarian Freedom and Solidarity party had argued that Slovaks should not be expected to bail out richer but financially reckless nations such as Greece. Only 55 lawmakers voted in favor Tuesday.

Slovakia's main opposition party, Smer, agreed to help pass the measure Thursday in exchange for early elections.


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Photo: Former Slovak prime minister and opposition leader Robert Fico, right, speaks to his party members after a vote Thursday in Bratislava on expanding the Eurozone bailout fund. Credit: Petr Josek / Reuters