Commission supports boost to EFSF

European Union Financial Services Commissioner Michel Barnier seen addressing a conference in Athens late Thursday, where he praised Greece’s economic austerity program. In a press conference yesterday, he said the European Commission supports boosting the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). ‘The European Commission has to reinforce European instruments so that we are ready for all situations,’ Barnier told reporters. ‘That’s our role. But the finance ministers must take the decisions.’ Barnier also said ‘we’re currently a long way from exhausting the available funds.’ It wasn’t clear when EU governments will settle final details such as the volume and scope, but there is an emerging consensus that the eurozone needs to do more to shore up its defenses against government defaults. In Paris, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said eurozone members are considering expanding the EFSF to ensure the bloc’s stability and are willing to explore new ways to use the fund that could include buying eurozone sovereign debt on the secondary market.