European bailout pledges top $1 trillion

Oct. 14, 2008 at 9:13 AM

PARIS, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Germany and France led the pack in commitments to their nation's banks as European leaders pledged more than $1 trillion in bailout plans.

The French and German bailout plans total $1.37 trillion, The Times of London reported Tuesday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday outlined a rescue that included $549 billion in bank guarantees and an additional $137 billion in state funds to provide capital for banks. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said this government would back banks with $440 billion in guarantees for bank-to-bank lending through December 2009 and $55 billion in capital for struggling banks.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero pledged $137 billion to cover bank-to-bank lending, while Italy pledged "as much as necessary," The Times said. Austria said it would provide $116.8 billion for bank guarantees and spend $20.6 billion in equity investments.

Sarkozy said the financial meltdown required a bold response.

"The biggest risk at the moment would have been to lack audacity," he said.

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