Finance ministers from around the eurozone met in Brussels on Monday. The group was focused on ironing out the final details of the proposed bailout of Spain's banks, as well as other measures intended to bolster the financial health of the European Union, as reported by Euronews and other media outlets.
Here are some of the key details to have emerged from Monday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
* Although it reportedly took most of the first day of the summit, members did come to a consensus regarding the terms that the eurozone would offer Spain's banks. According to the New York Times/International Herald Tribune, both the disbursement and deficit-reduction schedules were finalized.
* Spain will reportedly get 30 billion euros almost immediately, due to ongoing concerns over the severity of the situation that its banks now face. Other payments would be delayed until fall, so that a better assessment of the banks' ongoing needs can be conducted.
* The finance ministers also agreed to give Spain as a whole another year to bring its deficit down to 3 percent of its gross domestic product, the same threshold that all European Union members are required to meet. Spain will now have to meet that goal by 2014, instead of next year.
* In return, Spain has agreed to increase its value-added tax (VAT) and other indirect taxes. According to El Pais/Agencies, Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro will raise the taxes in order to counteract large amounts of tax fraud. Montoro told the media on Monday that the new rates were necessary, saying that "If more of the people who were supposed to pay VAT paid it, we wouldn't have to increase the rate by so much."
* The tax increases were part of a set of recommendations that the finance ministers meeting in Brussels outlined on Monday. Other recommendations were to remove some of the tax breaks on mortgage payments and to raise environmental taxes.
* Financial Times reported that Spain is also ready and willing to consolidate all of the nation's poorly performing banks into a single entity, if the finance ministers meeting at Brussels this week decide that consolidation is the next reasonable step towards stabilizing the country's financial sector.
* Some eurozone finance ministers have pushed for just such a move, because creating a single entity out of all of Spain's rescued banks would make them easier to monitor after being given bailout funds. According to the Financial Times, the Spanish government has considered doing so several times, but has balked each time at the cost of such a venture.
Vanessa Evans is a musician, traveler, and freelance writer with an interest in European studies and events.
- Politics & Government
- the European Union