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Fitch affirms EU's top triple-A rating

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Fitch on Tuesday affirmed its top 'AAA' credit rating for the European Union, judging financial support by member countries as providing a strong backstop to its limited borrowing.

The EU has seen its role as a lender to its member states who hit financial difficulties expand considerably in recent years, and itself borrows money for this purpose.

But Fitch said the outlook on the EU's top credit rating is stable as the bloc keeps its yearly debt service well below the additional amounts it can call upon from member governments in case a borrower defaults.

Despite having downgraded a number of the 27 EU member countries in the past two years, the ratings agency said the top-rated countries still account for nearly two-thirds of the EU budget.

"Fitch takes comfort from the fact that the expected yearly debt service of EU... until 2020 is fully covered by the additional contributions to the EU budget that could be provided by MS currently rated 'AAA'/Stable," it said in a statement.

Most of the 55.7 billion euros in outstanding EU loans at the end of 2012 were for the EFSF bailout fund, which is being phased out in favour of a different mechanism which is being capitalised by member states.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130319/fitch-affirms-eus-top-triple-rating