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EU Approve Plan to Double Crisis Fund to Help Member States

The European Parliament approved a plan on Thursday to double the European Union's crisis fund in emergency aid to member states hit hard by the financial crisis.

The European Commission proposed last month to raise the ceiling of the EU crisis fund from 12 billion euros (about US$15.05 billion) to 25 billion euros.

Under current rules, the EU can only provide as much as 12 billion euros in the form of so-called medium-term financial assistance facility to help member states outside the euro zone stabilize their economies.

In the face of the ongoing global financial crisis, Hungary became the first EU country that was forced to seek EU assistance of 6.5 billion euros from the fund, making the fund short of money in case others would also ask for help.

EU leaders agreed to the plan at an informal summit earlier this month. After the European Parliament's approval, EU finance ministers are expected to formally adopt it at their regular meeting in December.

(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2008)

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