Eurozone ready to act if needed on Ireland: Juncker

15th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Eurozone member states are ready to act as soon as possible if debt-stricken Ireland has to ask for help, the head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker, said Monday.

Juncker, describing any such Irish approach as theoretical, said that if Dublin sought help, "we are ready to respond as soon as possible."

For the moment, however, he said "Ireland has not put forward their request ... As long as they didn't, we are not supposed to deal with a theoretical request."

He said any decision on seeking aid was for the Irish government to make.

"I'm not giving a public recommendation" to Dublin to ask for help," he added, amid intense speculation that Dublin's devastated public finances will force it to seek help.

"As for budget consolidation, Irish authorities have the situation under control," Juncker said.

"ECB is delivering an excellent job," Juncker noted, adding: "I'm not giving any public recommendation to the ECB either."

Earlier Monday, Ireland said it was in contact with "international colleagues" over its debt crisis but denied seeking a bailout as the EU warned that Dublin's woes were a concern for the whole euro area.

Brussels and Dublin both insisted there were no formal talks despite persistent reports that Ireland was facing pressure to ask for help from a special European Union fund set up after the Greek debt crisis six months ago.

© 2010 AFP

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