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'Mother of all firewalls' needed

Pressure is mounting on Europe to build an even bigger financial stabilisation fund to head off sovereign debt concerns, with the United States, Brazil, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development all urging an increase.

While the advice coming out of a meeting of G-20 finance ministers, senior officials and central bank heads seemed overwhelming, Germany - Europe's main financial engine - appeared loath to fund yet another increase to stabilisation funds that already have about 500 billion euros.

Angel Gurria, the head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, set the tone at the conference, calling for about 1.5 trillion US dollars in "firewall" funds aimed at restoring confidence in European countries' debt.

"We still have to build the mother of all firewalls," Mr Gurria said in Mexico City. "The thicker the firewall is, the less likely we'll have to use it."

Guido Mantega, the finance minister of Brazil, said "there is a very strongly shared opinion that first, the European countries should strengthen their firewall.

"The emerging countries are only going to help under two conditions," Mr Mantega said.

"First, that they reinforce their firewalls, and second that reforms are implemented in the International Monetary Fund."


From Belfast Telegraph