Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said he has doubts about Austria's proposal for an EU-sponsored package to rescue banks in Central and Eastern Europe, according to an interview with Austrian weekly News published Wednesday.
Austria's government last week called on CEE countries, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to expand current measures in order to prevent a credit crunch in the region, dpa reported.
"It will cost all European countries a lot of effort to finance their own national programmes," said Schwarzenberg, whose country currently holds the EU presidency
"I have my doubts whether significant funds will be allocated," he said about the proposal.
Last Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed general support for Austria's package, but remained noncommital about taking concrete steps.
As the biggest lenders in the CEE region, with a total of 230 million (296 billion dollars) in credits, Austrian banks have the most to lose from a financial meltdown in Central and Eastern Europe.
The IMF has warned that attempts by banks to lower their risks could lead to a credit crisis.
In addition, banks active in Central and Eastern Europe are expected to face large write-offs due to the depreciation of currencies in countries like the Ukraine.