26 Sep 2011

European bailout fund could run out

What would happen if Europe’s bailout fund runs out? Channel 4 News charts the funds that could be needed by struggling eurozone countries – the pot could be left empty if Spain gets help.

Graphic showing how much money from the European bailout fund has already been committed and how is is left

Plans are reportedly being drawn up to increase the size of the 440bn euro (£384bn) European Financial Stability Facility to about 2tr euros (£1.7tr).

The markets are looking for evidence that action is being taken to deal with the effects of a possible Greek debt default on Greece, other European countries, such as Spain and Italy, Europe’s banks and the euro itself.

The money in the fund at the moment might be enough to bail out Spain if it needed help, but there would be nothing left for Italy.

The fund is providing 17.7bn euros in emergency loans to Ireland and 26bn to Portugal. Greece is in line for another 97.6bn euros, leaving 298.7bn euros in the pot.

Rough estimates suggest bailing out Spain could cost more than 290bn euros, while doing the same for Italy could be much more expensive at 490bn euros.

The German parliament will vote on Thursday on giving new powers to the EFSF. With the opposition parties on board, the change is set to be approved.

But some German politicians are saying Chancellor Angela Merkel should dissolve parliament and call an election if she fails to win a majority with the conservative parties in her coalition.

The EFSF, set up in 2010, borrows funds from the markets, backed by guarantees from eurozone countries.