(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) The European Union is ready to further bolster Spain if it asks for help, the bloc's economy commissioner said, amid speculation that the country will need more financial aid. "The European Commission and the Eurogroup stand ready to take action if needed," Olli Rehn told broadcaster CNBC during a visit to the United States.
"Concerning Spain, we have already started the implementation of the banking sector program," he said, referring to its bank bailout of up to 100 billion euros (123 billion dollars). "We will in parallel ... be prepared for any further action if that is needed."
Some have called for the eurozone's bailout fund and the European Central Bank (ECB) to buy Spanish bonds in a bid to reassure jittery financial markets and lower the country's high borrowing costs.
"To my mind, it is clear that both the EU - and I dare to say the ECB - are ready to take action once certain conditions are met and if there is a request by some member state to go into a primary market purchase program," Rehn said.
The eurozone's bailout fund is allowed to purchase sovereign bonds directly from under-pressure countries on the primary market - if a government asks it to do so - while the ECB can buy them from investors on secondary markets.
But the central bank has indicated that it would not get involved unless troubled eurozone governments first ask for help from their bailout fund - thus submitting to strict economic conditions.
"To ensure that such interventions help to bring down bond yields in a lasting way, they will be available only for member states that pursue sound budgetary policies, adopt structural reforms for growth and employment, and address macroeconomic imbalances," Rehn wrote Monday in the Wall Street Journal.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has not ruled out the possibility of seeking help from the eurozone to prompt the ECB to buy Spanish debt.
"Countries under intense market pressure have little breathing space to adopt the game-changing reforms that are essential for long-term gain," Rehn wrote in the Journal.