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Spain, Eurozone Agree To 'Financial Support'

Spain will ask, and European finance ministers will agree, to offer up financial aid for the country's struggling banks.

Spanish and eurozone officials announced their intentions after a three-hour emergency conference call on Saturday. If they make good on it, Spain will be the fourth – and largest — member of the 17-nation eurozone to receive outside help as Europe's debt crisis marches on.

Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said the aid would go to the banking sector only, with no austerity conditions attached. Spanish leaders are staying away from words like "rescue" and "bailout." Instead, The New York Times reports, De Guindos referred to "financial support":

"This has nothing to do at all with an absolute bailout," he said "It is financial support aimed and given to the Spanish bailout fund and the Spanish bailout fund will inject this capital to those Spanish institutions that require it as stated by the International Monetary Fund."

No one is giving numbers on how much Spain will request yet – that will have to wait until an independent audit of Spain's banks is conducted, de Guindos said. According to the AP, however, he did say "that Spain would request enough money for recapitalization, plus a safety margin that will be 'significant.'"

Lauren Frayer reported to our Newscast desk that eurozone finance ministers say Spain is being offered up to $125 billion. That money would help shore up local lenders weighed down by bad real estate debt.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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