A woman walks by a sign showing a euro coin at a bank branch in Athens, on January 31, 2012.
A woman walks by a sign showing a euro coin at a bank branch in Athens, on January 31, 2012. - 

Stacey Vanek Smith: European finance ministers are meeting in Denmark today. They're reportedly adding $670 billion to their bailout fund. Ministers have been trying to figure out how big of a financial bazooka they need to defend Europe from speculators.
 
From London, Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: When speculators began attacking the eurozone two years ago, dumping government bonds, the eurozone’s initial response was widely seen as feeble. They lobbed the equivalent of a couple of grenades. But the battle intensified.

The Europeans wheeled out what they called their 'big bazooka' -- a multi-billion dollar bailout fund to buy up the beleaguered bonds and blow the speculators away. Now the fund is running low on ammunition. Ministers are talking about creating a much bigger fund.

Here’s Simon Tilford of the Centre for European Reform.

Simon Tilford: If the eurozone doesn’t do anything else to get the southern eurozone economies growing, they will need a very,very big bazooka indeed.

Perhaps, he says, a bailout fund worth as much as $1.5 trillion. Not so much a bazooka as a ballistic missile.

In London, I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.