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Brussels and Berlin: ‘No news’ on potential Spanish request for bailout

Both the European Commission and the German government say Spain has not made a formal application for EU funding.

Angela Merkel has today affirmed that Spain will not be able to access EU funding until it specifically asks for it.
Angela Merkel has today affirmed that Spain will not be able to access EU funding until it specifically asks for it.
Image: Markus Schreiber/AP

BOTH THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION and the German government have said today morning there is “no news” of a request from Madrid regarding a bailout for Spanish banks.

“Should there be such a request the appropriate instruments are in place ready for use,” said European Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj, referring to the eurozone’s current bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Fund.

Asked to comment on media reports of a weekend conference call among Eurogroup ministers to discuss a bailout of Spain, he said: “I cannot confirm it.”

“We have no news of any request from Spain for financial assistance, therefore no ground to speculate,” he added, without specifically denying the reports.

Asked about a Spanish request for aid for its banks, he said: “The tools are in place, but at this point in time there is no request.”

The Spanish authorities are committed to provide a clear and robust assessment of the situation of the banking sector in Spain, its fragilities and following up on this, a restructuring plan that may entail recapitalisation of some entities.
And then we will take it from there with the Spanish authorities, should there be a request.

Speaking in Berlin, meanwhile, Angela Merkel said Spain had not made an application and that action could only be taken when Spain had done so.

“We have everything we need for a stable eurozone and it is up to the individual countries to come to us. That has not happened,” the chancellor added.

Germany would not be applying any pressure on any country to seek aid from European funds, Merkel said amid reports that Spain was poised to request cash from the bailout pot to recapitalise its debt-wracked banks.

She gave no reaction to the reports and her spokesman Steffen Seibert had earlier told a regular government news conference: “My comment on these reports is that I have no comment.”

Germany is steadfastly against the possibility of banks themselves accessing the European bailout pot, insisting that states hosting the banks must apply for aid.

Spain this morning said its first independent audit of the need for any bank bailout would be published on June 21.

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Spain sees borrowing costs rise, while France’s hit euro-era lows

More: Spain: ‘We’re being frozen out of markets, and we need help now’

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