20100630 european central bank 35
A giant symbol of the European Union's currency, the euro, stands outside the headquarters of the European Central Bank in the central German city of Frankfurt am Main. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: European leaders meet today to debate doubling the size of their bailout fund. But the Financial Times reports Italy and Luxembourg have introduced a new way to help troubled countries -- spreading the risk by selling European bonds.

Reporter Christopher Werth has more.

CHRISTOPHER WERTH: The European crisis boils down to one thing: government debt. To pay the bills, countries sell billion of dollars in bonds to investors every year. But when their finances get out of control, like they've done in Ireland and much of the Southern euro zone, those investors demand higher interest rates.

Philip White is with the Centre for European Reform. He says with the so-called E-bonds, European countries could spread their risk if they issued bonds across the euro-zone.

PHILIP WHITE: And hopefully as a result of that the countries in Southern Europe would issue their debt at much lower interest rates because effectively they'd be pooling their debt with Germany.

Not surprisingly, Germany is opposed to the plan. It's the strongest economy in Europe, and says pooling its debt with less financially stable countries would unfairly raise its own costs of borrowing.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.