12 Dec 2011

Markets back new plan to solve eurozone debt crisis

7:22 am on 12 December 2011

Financial markets have backed Europe's latest broad plan to address its debt crisis by making changes to its rule book and imposing greater control and penalties on the public finances of its nations.

While all 17 eurozone countries agreed to the deal and nine others say they'll sign up, Britain objected and used its veto to prevent it from applying to all 27 European Union countries.

But it stands alone and instead of changes to existing European Union treaties, an accord will be adopted by the remaining 26 nations backed by inter-governmental bodies.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso says countries should carry out these measures with all due speed and thoroughness.

He says proper implemenation is crucial to get Europe back on the growth path and member states need to do more to introduce country specific recommendations.

In terms of the region's current problems, European leaders agreed to bring forward the start-up of the region's bailout fund - the European Stability Mechanism - to July next year and cap it at €500 billion.

European central banks also agreed to lend €200 billion to the International Monetary Fund for use in Europe in the hope other countries will contribute.

ING chief economist Mark Cliff says the deal calmed financial markets, with stock markets rising and yields on government bonds falling in France, Spain and Italy.

"The markets have certainly been looking for more discipline because clearly that has been part of the problem, but it's only part of the problem," he says.

Mr Cliff says the other issue is where growth will come from because European countries will not be able to repay their debts unless they can get their economies growing again.

He says funding will become an issue early next year, especially as the European Central Bank is reluctant to increase the purchase of government bonds.