IMF's Strauss-Kahn says EU aid package a 'big step forward'

10th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Monday hailed an aid package unveiled by the European Union for eurozone economies as a "big step forward."

"I think we have to wait a little more, but I think all this is rather encouraging," said Strauss-Kahn at the Bank for International Settlements, where he was due to meet central bankers.

"I see what has been done by the Europeans yesterday as really a big step forward, very broad measures both on the side of the EU and on the side of the ECB (European Central Bank)."

The European Union announced in the early hours of Monday a 750-billion-euro (972-billion-dollar) rescue package for crisis-hit euro countries backed by the IMF and central banks worldwide, triggering a dramatic surge on Europen stock exchanges in early trading.

EU finance ministers agreed, after marathon talks lasting more than 11 hours, that 440 billion euros of the package would come from the troubled eurozone plus another 60 billion from the European Commission's coffers.

That would be backed by "at least half as much" again from the International Monetary Fund, or another 250 billion euros.

"If some countries ask the new European mechanism for some help, and at the same time comes to the IMF asking for a broader move, we're happy to contribute," said Strauss-Kahn.

"As I say broadly on the basis of what has been done in the past, which is two-thirds, one-third."

Asked if he thought the package was now sufficient, Strauss-Kahn said: "I think it is."

© 2010 AFP

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