January 23, 2011 / 12:57 PM / 7 years ago

German government to deliver EU package soon: Schaeuble

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s conservative coalition government wants to deliver a comprehensive package soon to strengthen the European rescue fund, the country’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted as saying on Sunday.

“We (the coalition) agree that we want to tie together a complete package in the next weeks,” the Sunday edition of Tagesspiegel newspaper quoted Schaeuble as saying.

“We have to avoid that people have the feeling we are stumbling from one crisis to the next,” he added.

Such a package would include measures to strengthen the bloc’s Stability and Growth pact and steps to improve coordination of European economic policy, Schaeuble said.

“And of course it also includes designing the rescue fund so that the EU share of 440 billion euros is actually available on demand,” Schaeuble said.

Europe is discussing ways to beef up the EFSF rescue fund to show it has enough firepower to support other states struggling with their borrowings, hoping this will ease the region’s debt crisis.

The fund has a headline value of 440 billion euros ($599 billion) but an effective lending capacity estimated at just 225 billion euros because of the need to secure a triple-A credit rating.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and junior coalition partners the Free Democrats have had their differences about economic policy, but Schaeuble said there was no conflict about this issue in the government.

This weekend Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle was quoted as saying the European rescue fund could offer bonds at different interest rates to account for its members’ divergent levels of creditworthiness in its attempt to boost its lending capacity.

Merkel’s spokesman on Friday signaled it would consider the option of getting euro zone countries that do not have an ‘AAA’ rating to help boost the capacity of the EFSF by injecting cash.

Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Will Waterman

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