Ireland and Spain to go it alone as exit bailouts

BOTH IRELAND and Spain yesterday said that they would exit their international bailouts within two and three months respectively, without further assistance.

The Irish government will go without a precautionary line of credit as the €85bn (£71.21bn) bailout from the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) rolls to an end on 15 December. It has been three years since the country sought the bailout during the Eurozone crisis.

Speaking to the country’s parliamentarians, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said: “Never again will out countries fortune be sacrificed to speculation, to greed and short term gain,” promising a new economic strategy.

As recently as this September, Irish finance minister Michael Noonan said that the government could require a €10bn line of credit as a precautionary measure, but yesterday confirmed that the country would not ask for such a facility. At the time, Eurogroup president voiced approval of the idea.

Noonan said that the government would not seek further assistance from the European Union or IMF.

“The cabinet decided on my advice not to apply for any precautionary programme. We want Ireland to be a normal Eurozone country, we see this as a return to normality.”

Meanwhile, Eurozone finance ministers also agreed yesterday to allow Spain to exit its aid programme for its banking sector in January without drawing more European funds.

Spain last year took €41bn of a €100bn package of aid to rescue a number of banks that were crippled by bad loans from the collapse of a property and construction bubble and to form a so-called bad bank to dispose of property and loans whose value has plunged.

“The overall situation of the Spanish banking sector has significantly improved, including the access to funding markets of Spanish banks,” the Eurogroup of Eurozone finance ministers said in a statement.

Brussels will still monitor Spain’s banking system and public finances every six months.