Six of the eurozone's best credit risks are considering issuing joint bonds to stabilize their own economies and calm financial markets, a newspaper reported Monday.
The bonds issued by the so-called triple-A countries - Germany, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Austria - were envisioned as a protective wall around those nations in the eurozone debt crisis, Die Welt reported, citing EU diplomats involved in negotiations on the crisis.
The bonds would not be issued by all 17 euro countries and would not be euro bonds in the classical sense. They would be used to finance the six countries' own debts but they could also eventually help heavily indebted eurozone countries, such as Italy and Spain, under strict conditions, Die Welt said.
Troubled eurozone countries and those with poor credit ratings would initially be excluded, the officials told the newspaper.
The bonds are being called elite or triple-A bonds and would carry interest of 2% to 2.5%, Die Welt said.
The discussions came as the European Union was providing bailout packages to countries in danger of default, such as Greece, and trying to prevent the debt crisis from spreading, shore up confidence in the euro and placate jittery world financial markets.
Germany, the eurozone's largest economy, is pushing for a new treaty that would impose strict budget controls and more closely coordinated economic policies among eurozone countries.
Such a treaty would need approval of all 27 EU members. Die Welt reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would agree to the elite bond plan only if the proposed treaty is not approved.
The report was published as EU finance ministers prepared to meet Tuesday in Brussels. Merkel also planned to present a package of proposals to battle the debt crisis at the next EU summit December 8-9, also in Brussels.