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Slovenia Says ECB Bond Buying Shouldn’t Require Bailout

Slovenian Finance Minister Janez Sustersic
Slovenian Finance Minister Janez Sustersic said,“Our strategy is to look at all those necessary reforms, this whole package, and our understanding is that if we do this, then we will not need to ask for any kind of rescue.” Photographer: Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty Images

Slovenian Finance Minister Janez Sustersic said the European Central Bank shouldn’t insist on nations applying for a bailout before it considers buying their bonds.

“I think that is one idea that would certainly help stabilize the yields of the bonds,” Sustersic said in an interview in Ljubljana. “In the countries that are vulnerable like ours, every news affects us a lot, sometimes not justified, so I think that the main purpose of this idea is to stabilize expectations a little bit.”

ECB President Mario Draghi reiterated in Slovenia last week that the ECB won’t start intervening in bond markets until governments request a bailout and agree to terms. Slovenia joins Italy in criticizing the plan. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Sept. 27 that nations such as Italy and Spain are reluctant to request ECB support because of uncertainty about what conditions would be attached.

Slovenia, whose benchmark bond yields surged to over 7 percent in August, is pushing to implement a package of economic overhauls such as the stabilization of its banking industry to avoid joining euro-region nations like Portugal and Ireland in seeking outside assistance.

Bailout Discussion

“There was a discussion whether we will need aid or not,” Sustersic said. “Our strategy is to look at all those necessary reforms, this whole package, and our understanding is that if we do this, then we will not need to ask for any kind of rescue.”

European finance ministers were meeting in Luxembourg today as they move to prevent Spain from causing a new round of market turmoil that started in Greece more than three years ago.

“Slovenia has difficulties and may need European Union aid,” Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter told reporters in Luxembourg today. “We have to make sure that debt in Europe doesn’t grow over our heads, but that we reduce it.”

The officials in Luxembourg will also hear reports on the implementation of the measures that were agreed with Greece so the Mediterranean country can get new financing from its euro peers and the International Monetary Fund. Slovenia is opposed to the relaxation of conditions imposed on the government of Antonis Samaras.

“We first have to be shown some results because what is important is that there was also involvement of the private sector, to private lenders to Greece and they have experienced serious haircuts and losses,” Sustersic said. “So they wouldn’t be very happy if we now at the political level change the terms of the agreement.”

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