Bank of England Governor Mervyn King warned of a "black cloud of uncertainty hanging over not only the euro area but our economy too, and indeed the world economy as a whole."
The lending program has so far met with a lukewarm response from analysts and businesses.
"With so many uncertainties about the U.K., European and global economies, it is very debatable whether entrepreneurs will be rushing to load up with new debt to invest in new projects," said Mark Ostwald, an analyst at Monument Securities.
This weekend's national elections have become the latest focal point in Europe's crisis. The left-wing Syriza party wants to abandon Greece's international bailout terms. If that happened, Greece could be cut off from the bailout loans it needs and could face bankruptcy and leave the euro.
Jeffrey Bergstrand, a professor of international finance at the University of Notre Dame, said that if the Greek elections end with uncertainty about the results, the ensuing chaos could require intervention to stabilize markets and banks across Europe.
In a sign of concern, French retail giant Carrefour SA said Friday that it's selling its stake in Carrefour Marinopoulos, its Greek supermarket joint venture, because of the economic uncertainty.
Spain's public debt load has doubled since 2008, the country's central bank said Friday. The Bank of Spain said that as of the end of the first quarter, total government debt — central, regional and local governments — stood at 72 percent of gross domestic product. That's up from 65 percent in the same quarter last year.
The government has said the debt load will hit 80 percent by year's end. Economists expect it to rise further from its acceptance of a €100 billion ($125 billion) loan to prop up its banks. Because the government will be responsible for repaying the banks' bailout, the loan will compound its public debt.
The International Monetary Fund warned that Spain's budget deficit was likely to be larger than estimated. It implored the government to take bolder steps to reduce its debt. These steps could include raising more tax revenue and cutting spending.
Italy has been swept up in the anxiety about Spain's finances. Investors have demanded high interest rates on bonds for fear that Italy might soon need financial aid. The government is saddled with a huge debt load — up to 120 per cent of its GDP. Investors fear it might be unable to maintain that level if its economy deteriorates further.
On Friday, Italy's government unveiled measures worth €80 billion ($100 billion) to try to spur growth and lower its debt. They include selling government property, issuing bonds for infrastructure projects and reducing staff at the Cabinet and in the Treasury Ministry.
The government plans to raise €10 billion by selling financial and oversight companies controlled by the Treasury and using the money to reduce public debt.
Chancellor Angela Merkel told a group of owners of family-run businesses that she would resist any pressure at the Group of 20 summit to quickly adopt steps such as commonly issued bonds or continent-wide bank deposit insurance.
"Germany will not be convinced by all the quick solutions like eurobonds, stability funds, European deposit insurance funds," Merkel said at a conference.
"I argue for addressing the roots and not fighting symptoms," she said.
DiLorenzo contributed from Brussels. Associated Press writers Bob Barr in London, Elaine Ganley in Paris, Daniel Wools in Madrid, Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington, Colleen Barry in Italy and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.
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