BERLIN (MNI) – Talks among Eurozone political officials about a
possible funding increase for the European Financial Stability Facility
(EFSF) could stretch beyond the spring EU summit scheduled for March
24-25, a senior German lawmaker said Monday.

“These talks are conducted in the direction of March 24-25 but they
could also last beyond” that date, said Klaus-Peter Flosbach, the
financial policy speaker of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center
right CDU/CSU parliamentary group.

Flosbach stressed that it is crucial for Merkel to “stay tough” in
the discussions about a pact for increasing competitiveness in the
Eurozone.

Joachim Pfeiffer, the CDU/CSU’s parliamentary speaker for economic
affairs, said last week that the parliamentary group isn’t fundamentally
opposed to the idea of the EFSF buying government bonds of fiscally
ailing Eurozone member states.

If the Eurozone members states can agree on common measures to
permanently reign in budget deficits and increase competitiveness, then
“one can look at purchases [by the EFSF] of government bonds. This would
be a possibility,” Pfeiffer said.

“There are clear signals out of the parliamentary group that we
would support that, but that is no blank check,” he stressed.

–Berlin bureau: +49-30-22 62 05 80; email: twidder@marketnews.com

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