Slovakia ratifies euro zone permanent bailout fund
BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Slovakia's parliament approved on Friday the euro zone's permanent bailout scheme, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a tool in the bloc's fight against the debt crisis.
Following two days of a heated debate 118 deputies voted in favor of the bill, 20 were against, five abstained and one deputy did not vote.
Slovakia joined Portugal, France, Greece, Slovenia and Finland that have ratified the ESM, which requires 90 percent of the capital base of the currency bloc to come into effect in July as anticipated.
The ESM was meant to come into effect on July 1, but draft conclusions seen by Reuters on Thursday for next week's summit of EU leaders showed they now aim to make it operational on July 9 due to delays in the ratification process in several euro zone countries, including the bloc's paymaster Germany.
Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic needs to sign the treaty to officially conclude the ratification process, but this step is considered only a formality given his known pro-European stance.
The euro zone second poorest country will provide 659.2 million euros ($830.99 million) in cash contribution and its entire share on effective 700 billion euro lending firepower the will be 5.768 billion euros, or 0.8 percent.
(Reporting by Martin Santa)