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March EU summit to discuss size of the ESM: French PM

PARIS (Reuters) - A March summit of European Union leaders will discuss increasing the firepower of the bloc's permanent rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to cope with an upcoming glut of sovereign debt maturities, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Thursday.

"We need to ratify the treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism and the corresponding revision of the European treaty so that this fund can enter into service from the month of July 2012," Fillon told a conference.

"At the European Council of March 1-2 we will have a look at its lending capacity foreseen at 500 billion euros to cope with states' refinacining needs in the coming months," he added.

(Reporting By Matthias Blamont; writing by Daniel Flynn; editing by Leigh Thomas)

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