Estonia's central bank chief urges action to calm markets
(TALLINN) - Eurozone governments must take rapid, clear action to calm markets as the currency bloc struggles with the spillover from its debt crisis, Estonia's central bank chief said Wednesday.
"In light of the uncertainty on the markets, it is important that eurozone governments act quickly and that the accompanying message is unified," Andres Lipstok wrote in an opinion piece published in the Estonian business daily Aripaev.
Estonia adopted the euro in January, making Lipstok the country's representative on the governing council of the European Central Bank.
Lipstok said nations in the 17-member eurozone should "implement fully and without delay" their July 21 agreement to tackle the growing debt crisis by increasing the European Financial Stability Facility's (EFSF) lending capacity to 440 billion euros ($596 billion).
He underlined that despite concerns, the eurozone is not doing worse economically than other industrialised nations.
"In light of the criticism of Europe, it is important to keep in mind that in the eurozone as a unit, the main economic and financial indicators are in similar or better shape than in other industrial states," he wrote.
Lipstok's comments come on the eve of a parliamentary vote in Estonia on joining the EFSF.
Estonia's participation in the eurozone rescue fund would amount to some 1.995 billion euros ($2.7 billion).
The prospect of the currency bloc's newest and poorest member -- which has a reputation for conservative fiscal policies -- having to pour money into the fund has sparked increasing debate in the nation of 1.3 million people.
On Monday, Estonia's ombudsman warned that its participation in the EFSF could even be unconstitutional as formulated.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip's centre-right governing coalition, which backs participation in the rescue fund staunchly, commands a majority of 56 seats in the 101-member parliament.
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