Irish bailout 'around 85 billion euros': France
Debt-ridden Ireland's international bailout will probably be worth around 85 billion euros, France's budget minister and government spokesman Francois Baroin said Wednesday.
After France's weekly cabinet meeting, Baroin told reporters the bailout "has not yet been completely finalised but it will be around 85 billion euros (114 billion dollars)."
Beleaguered Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was Wednesday due to present a tough four-year austerity plan, a key step towards securing the bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Baroin also said that French President Nicolas Sarkozy would discuss the bailout with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by telephone on Thursday.
Merkel has said Germany is prepared to help Ireland but the support of the eurozone's biggest player is conditional on "making clear what steps a country must take to get back on a path of stabilisation."
Baroin said that during the cabinet meeting, Sarkozy "recalled that France was ready to apply with European Union partners the financial support system set up in the wake of the Greek crisis.
"We're obviously watching the Irish situation very closely, in particular the efforts that will be asked of Ireland in return, in terms of taxes," the minister said, speaking on behalf of the government.
Sarkozy said earlier this week that Ireland would have to raise taxes in order to balance its books.
Irish banks will reportedly face a new tax, introduced in lieu of raising Ireland's low rate of corporation tax. Ireland will be the second country in the 16-nation eurozone to be rescued this year, after Greece.
© 2010 AFP