EU, Ireland Bailout Talks Starts In Brussels – Watch LIVE Press Conference

The finance ministers of the euro zone countries are meeting in Brussels Tuesday night, with the aim of finding a solution to Ireland’s funding problems. Shortly before the meeting was about to start, the Irish prime minister made  a statement in the Irish parliament, saying that the  Government must find a credible, efficient and workable solution to its budgetary problems that will provide assurance to the financial markets and restore confidence and stability in the Irish economy. A bailout by the EU is still not an issue.

“Tomorrow this House will consider a motion to extend the current Bank Guarantee Scheme – the ELG Scheme – for a further year.”

Brian Cowen

Brian Cowan

Mr. Cowen made a statement in the Irish Dáil Tuesday evening, repeating that Ireland had made no application for external support and said there had been some “ill-informed” and “inaccurate” speculation about the Government seeking a bailout in recent days. At the same time the euro zone finance ministers met in Brussels, and the European Union (EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) continues to work on a solution for the Irish banking sector.

“Given the current market conditions, there have been on-going contacts at official level with our international partners,” Cowen says.

“The Department of Finance is continuously in contact with these bodies. The engagement has been particularly intense in the run up to the budget and the four-year plan.”

Mr. Cowen says there is no doubt that financial markets has been extremely volatile over recent weeks and that the State needs to provide them with a level of reassurance.

“This is not an insurmountable challenge and, through working together with our partners in a calm and rational manner, we can resolve these issues and underpin financial stability in the medium and longer term,” he says.

“It is in all of our interests that we find a credible, efficient and above all workable solution that will provide assurance to the markets and thereby restore confidence and stability.”

Here’s a transcript of the full statement by Prime Minister of Ireland, Brian Cowan, issued Tuesday afternoon.

EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn confirmed this afternoon that the European Commission was discussing a solution to Ireland’s banking problems with the IMF, ECB and Irish officials, The Irish Times reports.

“The real problems are in the banking sector,” not with the [Irish] Government, “but these are connected,” he says.

Brian Lehnian

“We have a very strong focus on the banking sector,” Mr. Rehn says.

Arriving over an hour late for this evening’s euro zone finance meeting after being held up in traffic, Irish finance minister Lenihan admitted that markets are “not being good to Ireland”.

However, he reiterated the Government’s position that the State remains fully funded until mid-2011.

So, while Stephen Colbert is trying to keep fear alive in the USA, Brian & Brian are doing an excellent job of keeping confusion alive in Europe.

Read more at The Irish Times:

Hour-by-hour game of wits to stave off bailout

Bailout worth nought without political reform

Taoiseach accepts intensive talks with EU partners needed

It is announced that a press conference will be arranged some time tonight. You can watch the press briefing LIVE here. (or click picture).

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