Sunday, November 28, 2010


The bailout for Ireland is here, and nobody's happy with it.

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said his government has completed 10 days of negotiations on an EU-IMF bailout of his debt-crippled country and expects European financial chiefs to ratify the deal Sunday in Brussels.  

Cowen said in a statement issued by his office that talks which began Nov. 18 in Dublin with International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank experts "are concluding today" in Brussels. He says the Irish Cabinet met late Saturday to approve the plans. 

Cowen said he expects finance ministers of all 27 EU members to "adopt" the loan plans for Ireland. 

The question now is which Eurozone country will be next.  The smart money's on Portugal, but it turns out there's a host of European countries that have a higher debt-to-GDP ratio higher than Ireland does:  Austria, Belgium, Italy, France, Hungary, Portugal, and yes, the UK and Germany do as well.  (Japan's national public debt is now nearing twice its yearly GDP, for the record.)

Word is the EU is now operating on a permanent solution to the problem.

Under pressure to take dramatic action to arrest a systemic threat to the euro, the leaders of Germany and France, the EU's two central powers, agreed in principle with top EU officials on the broad lines of a permanent crisis-resolution mechanism.

Crucially, private bond holders would be expected to share the burden of any future sovereign debt restructuring of a euro zone country on a case-by-case basis, the source said.

And if Europe is considering making the investor class take some of the bailout burden, you know things are deadly serious.  Will the United States ever follow suit?

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