8 Oct 2008

EU moves to reassure bank savers

8:56 am on 8 October 2008

European Union finance ministers have agreed to increase the guarantee for customers' bank savings accounts to at least 50,000 euros ($US68,250).

The ministers reached agreement at emergency talks on Tuesday on the financial crisis in Luxembourg.

They also agreed to support big banks in trouble in order to protect the financial system.

Until the outbreak of the turmoil in the financial sector, most EU governments guaranteed consumer savings of up to 25,000 euros.

However, several countries wanted to raise the minimum guarantee even higher than 50,000 euros - to 100,000 euros. Countries such as Greece and Ireland have already issued blanket guarantees for savers.

The ministers from the 27 member states hope their measures will bolster money markets after a

A day of panic on Monday saw huge losses on share indexes in Germany, France and Britain - despite a $US700 billion bank bail-out in the United States.

German view

Germany opposes the idea of a joint European Union fund to rescue troubled banks and says an Irish scheme to guarantee bank deposits is the wrong way forward.

This was reiterated at a special session of the Bundestag lower house of parliament devoted to the financial crisis by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

She said a joint EU fund involving the 27 EU member countries was not acceptable.