Senior sources have told RTÉ News that the International Monetary Fund has emerged as a potential source of extra resources for the EU to get to grips with the debt crisis.

As eurozone finance ministers concluded marathon emergency talks in Brussels it appears one option to allow the eurozone to optimise the European bailout fund is greater involvement of the IMF with the possibility that emerging economies - such as India, China and Brazil - could get involved in bond purchases.

Such a move could help Italy and Spain borrow on the international markets without paying interest rates that might push either country into bailout territory.

For several weeks eurozone governments have been looking at ways to expand the bailout fund - the European Financial Stability Facility - without calling upon richer eurozone countries to commit more taxpayers' money.

Throughout today's tense negotiations two options emerged as the most likely method of boosting the EFSF's "firepower" so that it could provide a backstop to countries like Italy and Spain, should they run into trouble borrowing on the international markets.

The talks are being held ahead of tomorrow’s summit of EU and eurozone leaders.

One option involves using some of the EFSF's €440bn pool of funds to insure 20% or 30% of a bond issuance from a vulnerable member state.

Such a guarantee should ensure a smooth sale of sovereign bonds without incurring a dangerously high interest rate.

It would also have the virtue of conserving the fund's resources - thus leveraging its €440bn effective lending capacity.

However, the IMF option would allow the International Monetary Fund to get involved in substantial bond purchases through the use of a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle.

The SPV could operate alongside the EFSF and thereby facilitate the involvement of richer, emerging market members of the IMF; such as Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

It is understood this method is favoured because it could be simpler and attract more direct funding as a way to lower borrowing costs for vulnerable eurozone economies.

It would also mean that the EFSF was not getting involved in both bond purchases and bank recapitalisation schemes, something which could fall foul of the market or even erode the EFSF's triple A rating.

While the involvement of the IMF in helping with bond purchases would require legal changes to the IMF's constitution, it's understood that the creation of a SPV could help it get around legal difficulties.

It is understood that the new managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, has been promoting this idea during today's crisis talks with finance ministers in Brussels.

One source told RTÉ news that she had reassured ministers that any legal questions could be overcome.

The idea may, however, face resistance from the US which has repeatedly argued that the eurozone has sufficient resources on its own to deal with the crisis.

The involvement of the IMF could take some time to work out legally, but it could be looked at in a substantive way when the G20 heads of government meet in Cannes on 3-4 November.

On a separate strand of negotiation finance ministers made some progress on agreeing a broad recapitalisation of European banks to the tune of an estimated €100bn.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have said that progress had been made on talks, though outstanding issues remain.