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Irish resisting EU bail-out pressure

The Irish Republic has insisted it does not need European Union assistance amid speculation it is under pressure to use an EU bail-out fund.

Dublin said it was in contact with "international colleagues".

But it dismissed reports that it may approach the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) for up to 80bn euros (£68bn; $110bn) as "fiction".

Ireland's difficulties will be discussed by EU finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

However, the BBC's Europe editor Gavin Hewitt said that high-level talks had already begun, involving European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and his economy commissioner Olli Rehn.

"Some EU officials believe it would be better for the Republic to accept a bail-out package now rather than to allow uncertainty to continue," Gavin Hewitt said.

Brussels fears that any delay risks repeating the Greek crisis that earlier this year threatened the entire eurozone, he added.

A commission spokesman confirmed that it regarded the Irish finance position as serious, but denied that the government was being put under pressure to accept help.

"Yes, we are in close contact with the Irish authorities, yes there are concerns in the euro area about the financial stability of the euro area as a whole, once again," said Amadeu Altafaj.

"But to say that there are strong pressures to push Ireland to any kind of scheme of this kind is an exaggeration," he added.
Bank plan

Some reports suggest that the Irish Republic could seek help for its banking sector alone, rather than asking for help at a government level.

BBC News

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