The Euro zone has reached a crucial juncture and its leaders will work with the European Central Bank to save the single currency, the Euro Group chief Mr Jean-Claude Juncker said in interviews published today.

“We have come to a crucial point. But we have to outline the pace and scope. We will act together with the ECB...,” he told France’s Le Figaro daily, speaking of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bailout fund.

“There is no more time to lose,” he said, adding that a review of the markets will be decided in the coming days.

In a separate interview to Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Mr Juncker said the “Euro zone has come to a stage where we must clearly show through all means possible that we are firm on assuring the stability of the monetary union.

“Nobody should doubt the will of the involved forces to show their determination,” he said.

His comments came after ECB chief Mr Mario Draghi sent stock markets soaring and helped bring down Spanish borrowing costs sharply last week by saying the central bank was “ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me it will be enough.”

The leaders of France and Germany followed up his statement with a similar joint declaration yesterday although they did not pledge any specific action.

Since the start of the crisis, the ECB lost no time in embarking on a series of emergency measures — in addition to cutting rates — to stem the turmoil.

The EFSF rescue fund currently has a little more than $245 billion to spend, not enough to fly to the rescue of Italy should it need a full-blown Greece-style rescue, but sufficient to have an impact on the market.

Though the fund is also able to buy public debt on the secondary market, it has never yet used that power.

Current rules state the EFSF can intervene on primary markets only for countries that have signed up to an official reform programme in exchange for a financial rescue, such as Greece or Portugal.

The EFSF can also offer credit lines as a precautionary measure or loan money to recapitalise banks.

(This article was published on July 30, 2012)
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