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Merkel's and Rajoy's meeting answers few questions

Mariano Rajoy and Angela Merkel have yet to discuss conditions Spain must meet to qualify for aid to bring down borrowing costs. They spoke as the European Central Bank announced new rescue measures for ailing economies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures next to Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as they pose before their meeting at Moncloa Palace in Madrid

Treffen Merkel Rajoy Spanien

ECB head Mario Draghi announced a new bond-buying scheme that will come with "strict and effective" conditions for countries that take it.

Rajoy showed no rush to seek a bailout that would force his country to meet any conditions that might restrict growth. The Spanish leader has said that he is open to a sovereign bailout but first wants to analyze the terms set by the ECB and the eurozone.

"When there is news I will tell you," Rajoy said. "I haven't had time to read Draghi's speech yet."As Spain's regions clamor for federal money to meet debt payments, central finances have been stretched. Banking reforms and economic contraction have also put stress on Spain's funds. Still, Merkel considers the country to be on the right track but says it has work to do

"In the end, all other measures, such as those that serve monetary stability, which is what we're talking about with reference to the ECB, cannot replace political actions," Merkel said. "Therefore it is very important that we do our homework as politicians and do it so that markets regain confidence."

Draghi said the Outright Monetary Transactions program, a "fully effective backstop," would have no set limit. In addition, Draghi indicated that the ECB would target government debt with relatively short maturities, presumably between two to three years. The ECB would only consider buying the debt, Draghi added, if countries seeking help would first officially request it from Europe's bailout funds and agree to "strict and effective" budget policy conditions.

mkg / rc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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