Eurozone crisis: The bailout that isn’t a bailout
15 November 2010
“Lenihan to seek EU funds for the banks”, headlines the Irish Independent. With rumours flying that an EU/IMF bailout for the financially stricken nation is not “a matter of whether but when”, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is working to avoid at all costs the appearance of a Greek style bail-out and the loss of Irish economic sovereignty. At a summit of EU finance ministers in Brussels on 16 November Mr Lenihan is to ask “if it would be possible for the banking sector alone to access money from the rescue fund.” “The virtual collapse of Ireland's banking system has left financial institutions here almost totally reliant on the European Central Bank for funds to conduct their day-to-day business,” the Dublin daily notes. A finance ministry source said – “The Irish State doesn't need the funds. There are no negotiations.”
“First Ireland, then Portugal,” leads off Lisbon daily i, alarmed that the high cost of Irish sovereign debt is spreading contagion not just to Portugal but to other Eurozone nations. “The central concern is called Spain,” i writes. “The European Commission and European Central Bank were on full alert last week when record pressure on Ireland and Portugal’s sovereign debt… began to spread to the fourth largest economy in the eurozone.” For European officials, bailout is inevitable because while "governments in Dublin and Lisbon resist for domestic political reasons, for the European Union it’s the defense of the euro that’s at stake."