After five hours of talks, euro zone ministers decided to take no new action regarding the debt crisis, despite indications to the contrary earlier Monday. Jean-Claude Junker, chairman of the Eurogroup, told reporters, “We don’t have any new decision to announce to you,” according to a Reuters report.
Suggestions that the rescue facility’s amount might be increased and that the euro zone might even issuejoint bonds fell by the wayside as the group decided the facility was large enough. The bond issue was never even brought up. Instead, ministers discussed Spain and Portugal and addressed the European debt crisis with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The European Central Bank (ECB) did not intervene with any action of its own, despite last week’s bond buying to stabilize markets.
The group even failed to reach agreement on its 2011 budget, which now may have to be discussed at a planned summit Dec. 16-17. Without agreement, the group’s spending will remain the same as in 2010; there had been an agreement in principle to raise the budget by 2.9% for 2011, but some member nations objected to some of the parliament’s demands. There is still a possibility that consensus will be reached; several member nations do not want budget talks linked to a scheduled discussion on a proposed permanent debt crisis resolution mechanism.