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Vienna, 25 January 2012 Fekter: No new burden for Austria as a result of euro rescue umbrellas Shares are fixed and will not be increased.

Finance Minister Dr Maria Fekter does not consider that Austria will suffer any additional burdens as a result of transfer of the remaining funds from the existing euro rescue umbrella, the so-called European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), to the permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM), planned with effect from July. "We are working on the basis of the agreed volumes. The funds of the EFSF in their current volume are to be transferred into the ESM. We do not know what volume will be left over in this respect," declared Fekter.

"We are currently assuming a sum of EUR 500 billion in the ESM, plus the amount which is additionally left over," continued Fekter. "We must bear in mind that the EFSF is now still supervising the programmes in parallel which will exist in any event until the ESM has been ratified by all Member States. It will be some time before all have completed the parliamentary procedure," stressed the Minister. The EFSF is at present still operating the programme for Portugal and Ireland, and may also activate the second programme for Greece, and for this reason still requires the funds at its disposal.

Fekter stressed further: "In the Member countries we have great difficulties in achieving increases in the rescue umbrellas via parliamentary decisions. For this reason, the attempt is being made internally, on the one hand via leverage configurations, and on the other hand via the technical intersection of both programmes, to achieve optimization of volumes."

It remains unclear whether, following the planned overlapping of the EFSF and ESM for one year – from July 2012 to July 2013 – the volumes will fall back to the previous level of EUR 500 billion for the ESM, once the existing rescue umbrella runs out. The fact is: "Only the subscribed capital will be increased, but not the actual shares; these are fixed, depending on how much remains from the transferred EFSF," declared Fekter.

The EU finance ministers have not yet come to any final agreement on the terms and deadlines for payment into the ESM. Of the total amount of EUR 80 billion, Austria is to pay in a deposit of EUR 2.2 billion. The decision is to be made at the next EU summit this coming Monday, at which the fiscal pact will also be entrusted to the charge of the heads of state and government due to failure on the part of the finance ministers to come to an agreement, as well as in response to the express wishes of a number of states. Originally, five tranches were planned – from 2013 to 2017 – but because the launch date for the ESM has been brought forward, earlier payment will be required. "I would prefer payment in two tranches at the beginning," concluded Fekter.