France, Europe press Slovakia to drop EFSF opposition
France has joined European Union leaders in pressing the Slovakian parliament to drop its opposition to boosting the bailout fund designed to help countries hit by debt crisis. European stocks rose and the euro hit a three-week high against the dollar in anticipation of a new vote as early as Thursday.
"This is not good news ... but I have confidence in the authorities in Slovakia," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé told France Info radio, declaring he was confident a new vote would take place soon.
All 17 members of the eurozone have to back the expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) for it to go through. Slovakia, which has been a eurozone member for less than three years, became the only country to oppose the move when its parliament voted against it on Tuesday.
The minority member of the coalition government, Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), joined Robert Vico’s centre-left Smer-SD in voting against.
The European Union called on Slovak political parties to “rise above the short-term politics” and reverse the decision.
Prime Minister Iveta Radicova’s government fell because she made the vote a vote of confidence.
But President Ivan Gasparovic is expected to ask her to run an interim government ahead of an early election, the key condition set by Smer-SD for a yes vote.
Fico, who declared that his country “has to ratify the EFSF” after Tuesday’s vote, was reported to be in talks with Mikulas Dzurinda, of Radicova’s centre-right SDKU, on Wednesday and the earliest possible date for a new vote is Thursday evening.
An EU summit on 23 October will finalise its response to the crisis ahead of a G20 meeting in early November.
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