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European bailout of Ireland close at hand

[ 2010-11-29 13:00]     字号 [] [] []  
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European ministers are expected to sign off on an 85 billion euro ($112.7 billion) rescue for Ireland, making it the second euro member after Greece to require a bailout in the face of a crippling debt crisis.

Finance ministers from the 16-nation euro zone are due to meet in Brussels to discuss the emergency loan package Ireland needs to stem mounting losses at its banks and cope with a massive budget deficit.

Ministers from the broader 27-nation European Union will also gather to approve the aid, which will come from a 750 billion euro ($993 billion) rescue facility the bloc set up back in May after Greece was pushed to the brink.

By committing funds for Ireland, Europe hopes to draw a line under a crisis that has severely dented confidence in the 12-year old currency bloc.

But investors could soon turn their attention to other high-deficit countries like Portugal or Spain in what is turning into a high-stakes showdown between markets and politicians.

In a flurry of phone calls over the weekend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke with the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, underscoring the seriousness of a crisis that has been haunting the euro zone for the past year.

Tens of thousands of Irish took to the streets of Dublin on Saturday to protest against the looming bailout and Irish opposition parties warned they would not accept a deal that imposed high interest rates on the EU/International Monetary Fund loans.

The parties, Fine Gael and Labor, are expected to rout the unpopular Prime Minister Brian Cowen's Fianna Fail party in an election that is considered likely to take place within months. They have said they would be bound by a rescue deal but may try to renegotiate details.

Both parties want bond investors who lent money to Irish banks to take on a bigger share of their country's bailout burden, rather than foisting it all on Irish taxpayers.


1. How much is the proposed Irish Bailout?

2. Where is the money coming from?

3. Why is it important to bail out Ireland?


1. 85 Billion Euro.

2. An emergency bloc fund set up after Greece.

3. To ‘draw a line’ under a potential Euro currency crisis.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

European bailout of Ireland close at hand

European bailout of Ireland close at hand

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.