Belfast Telegraph

EU talks on bailout set to conclude

The Government has confirmed details of its 85 billion euro bailout will be published once approved by the European Union's finance ministers later.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan travelled to Brussels to finalise the rescue package at an emergency meeting of his EU counterparts, including UK Chancellor George Osborne, ahead of markets reopening on Monday.

It is understood discussions are centring on how much interest Ireland will pay on the loan from Europe and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to what extent private bondholders will be covered.

In a statement, the Government confirmed negotiations with representatives of the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF are concluding.

"The Government met last night and were briefed on the progress which had been made," it said. "The Government decided to proceed to conclude a programme on that basis and authorised the Minister for Finance to finalise the negotiations at a meeting of the EU Finance Ministers in Brussels this afternoon."

It said the programme for assistance should be adopted at the ministerial meeting and anticipates its details will be published later.

The deal is due to be struck the day after 50,000 protesters marched through the streets of Dublin against the country's drastic austerity measures. It has be signed off by the 16 Eurozone finance ministers before it can be passed at a second meeting with the finance ministers of the 27 EU countries.

The Chancellor said Britain was going to play its part in helping restore stability to the eurozone. As he joined his 16 colleagues from the single currency EU countries he said he hoped good progress would be made.

"Obviously it's in everyone's interest and in Britain's national interest that we get some economic stability in Ireland, indeed across the eurozone, because Britain trades a great deal with Ireland and it is in the whole of Europe's interest that we bring this matter to a close, get some stability, get our economies going," he said.

Mr Osborne went on: "It is absolutely in Britain's national interest that we sort out Ireland and get some stability in the euro area and Britain will play its part in helping to bring that about".

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