Senior European financial officials emerged from a meeting in Brussels yesterday saying they were “intensifying preparations” for an Irish bailout of up to $135 billion. IMF experts will head to Dublin this week to examine the country’s finances and work out the details, the Wall Street Journal reports. There’s just one problem: Ireland’s finance minister still insists the country doesn’t want help, despite the punishing rates it’s paying to fund its massive budget deficit.
Other euro-zone countries are urging Ireland to take the money, afraid that an Irish collapse would start a chain reaction that could take down the euro itself. But Ireland doesn’t want to give up control of its finances to the IMF, something several countries are insisting on. The bailout would almost certainly include IMF loans, which typically come with policy prescriptions. The UK and EU would also pitch in.