James G. Neuger and Meera Louis
Bloomberg
May 10, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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European Union finance ministers moved toward agreement on an unprecedented loan package worth at least $645 billion to prevent Greece’s fiscal woes from triggering a broader sovereign-debt crisis and shattering confidence in the euro.

Jolted into action by last week’s slide in the currency to a 14-month low and soaring bond yields in Portugal and Spain, the 16 euro governments sketched out plans to make 440 billion euros ($570 billion) available, with 60 billion euros more from the EU’s budget, according to three officials at the talks in Brussels. An additional, unspecified sum may come from the International Monetary Fund, the officials said.

“We are going to defend the euro,” Spanish Economy Minister Elena Salgado told reporters as she arrived to chair the meeting yesterday. “We think we have a duty for more stability for our currency. We will do whatever is necessary.”

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