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EU 'confident' full eurozone EFSF ratification mid-October

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission welcomed German approval of new powers for the eurozone rescue fund on Thursday and said it is confident all 17 eurozone states will complete ratification by mid-October.

The commission said a significant hurdle had been passed after Germany voted through with a healthy majority its acceptance of landmark changes to the European Financial Stability Facility, giving it more scope to intervene on behalf of eurozone states suffering from debt problems.

"We welcome this new approval," said EU economic affairs spokesman Amadeu Altafaj, moments after the German vote result.

"The process is moving forward," he said, citing ratification by another tight-ship economy in Finland on Wednesday. Both countries have seen anti-EU sentiment rise significantly as the strain of successive bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal weighs on voters and taxpayers.

"We are confident we can achieve (full ratification) by mid-October," Alrafaj said.

European Union leaders stage a crucial summit in Brussels on October 17 and 18, at which diverging views on a second bailout for Greece, or an early default, must be addressed.

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