Oct. 11 - Slovakia's vote on expanding the European Financial Stability Fund hit a snag when a ruling party said it would abstain, forcing the government to turn to opposition parties to push through the deal, but it says the vote will be approved by the end of the week. Joanna Partridge reports.
Slovakia is the last of the 17 euro zone members to vote on expansion of the bloc's bailout fund. But it hasn't given its approval just yet. Political wrangling has delayed Bratislava's verdict on increasing the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) to 440 billion euros and giving it more power. Slovakia's Prime Minister Iveta Radicova put her government on the line by linking the EFSF to a confidence motion in her cabinet. She was expected to lose the vote of confidence but says she and two of her coalition partners will be able to ratify the Fund's expansion - and by the end of the week according to her finance minister. Slovakia is the single currency's second poorest member. And ahead of the vote, Slovaks were divided on whether they should pay for countries like Greece. Some don't think Greeks have gone through the tough economic reforms that Slovaks endured to be able to join the euro in 2009. SOUNDBITE: Ludka, Slovak saleswoman, saying (Slovak): "Why should we pay? I think they should contribute to us, we are not much better off than Greece." SOUNDBITE: Juraj Tokar, Slovak pensioner, saying (Slovak): "Of course I think we should approve it. Not only parliament but also a majority of people here think this is the only possible way to help a sick Europe." Slovakia's delay in approving the EFSF won't please the markets. European shares closed down on Tuesday as uncertainty remained about the euro zone debt crisis, and analysts say the longer investors wait for news, the further shares will fall. Joanna Partridge, Reuters