Many experts in the private sector favor expanding the size of the 750-billion euro European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which was created to bail out European countries under sovereign debt pressures.  

While the fund was large enough to bail out small countries like Greece, it is clearly not enough to bail out countries like Spain and Italy.

 

Spain, Europe's fifth largest economy, is seen as another potential victim of the sovereign debt crisis because of its housing bust, high unemployment rate, and large budget deficit.

 

Even Italy, Europe's fourth largest economy, may be in trouble because its public debt, relative to the GDP, is the second highest in Europe behind only the bailed-out Greece.

 

So far, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund are in favor of increasing the size of the ESFS. Germany, which has been the 'anti-bailout' voice in Europe, opposes doing so.   European officials will meet Thursday and Friday at the EU Economic Summit, during which they may possibly discuss this issue.  

 

Many experts in the private sector are in favor of fund expansion because preventative measures may lower the cost of the eventual bailout if not prevent crises altogether.

 

An increase in the size of the bailout fund may be a good idea, to calm concerns that the fund won't be big enough to cope with problems in one of the larger countries, such as Spain, said Natascha Gewaltig of Action Economics. 

 

Indeed, fear is a big factor driving Europe's sovereign debt crisis and it alone can trigger a self-fulfilling bond market crisis.

 

But even if a bailout were inevitable, it would be much better to have the funds available before a crisis erupts rather than having to hurriedly put them together when a crisis hits, said Marie Diron of Oxford Economics.

 

Furthermore, George Soros said European officials' slow reaction to the Greek sovereign debt crisis caused the ultimate bailout package to be larger than what an earlier preventative package would have been, so preventative measures may be a less costly option for European taxpayers. 

 

Email Hao Li at hao.li@ibtimes.com