Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos on Friday
tried to end speculation about whether Madrid will need more
financial support, with all eyes on the crisis-battered country at an
informal meeting of his European Union counterparts, dpa reported.
"Fulfilling Spain's budget goals and reform programme is much more
important than whether there will be a rescue or no rescue," he told
reporters before the talks in Cyprus, which currently holds the EU's
Spain has already been granted a bailout of up to 100 billion
euros (130 billion dollars) for its troubled banks, but speculation
has been rife that it will also request a market intervention by the
European Central Bank (ECB) to keep its borrowing costs in check.
De Guindos said the ministers would discuss the conditions for ECB
interventions only in general terms, not in the Spanish context.
But several of his colleagues said they want answers from Madrid
on what it intends to do. EU officials have complained that there
have been mixed messages out of the Spanish capital.
"I'd like them to set out their position because it hasn't been
clear over the summer what their position is," Irish Finance Minister
Michael Noonan said.
"We are geared up for all possible phenomenons that we will
encounter," Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter added.
Madrid still needs to make progress on winning back the trust of
financial markets, Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said.
"Spain is on the right way, but they have to continue to convince
the markets that they have a sound policy for economic reform, as
well as budgetary austerity measures," he noted.
The eurozone's other problem, Greece, was also expected to
be discussed by the ministers, as experts from its troika of
international lenders work on assessing its financial progress.
Giving Athens more time to meet EU requirements is not out of the
question because of an enduring recession, de Jager said.
"But not extra money," he quickly added.