Irish bail-out in one week, Bulgarian deputy PM says

17.11.10 @ 17:43

  1. By Leigh Phillips

BRUSSELS - The Bulgarian deputy prime minister, who is also the country's finance minister, appears to have let the cat out of the bag on the date of an Irish bailout, telling Bulgarian reporters on Wednesday (17 November) that despite Irish insistence to the contrary, he expects a package will be cobbled together some time next week.

  • Bulgaria's deputy prime minister and finance chief Simeon Djankov (Photo: Viktor Giltyai, Trud Daily, Sofia)

"I expect a bailout decision to be taken within a week," Simeon Djankov said at a small briefing following a meeting of EU finance ministers, after reporters asked about the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund's upcoming mission to Dublin.

Bulgaria is not in the eurozone, but the broader meeting of the EU's 27 finance ministers on Wednesday morning "was almost completely about this subject," he said.

Secret inspectors

Meanwhile, details on the composition of the EU-IMF troika team, who in effect, through their mission to oversee Irish austerity and budget plans will maintain a degree of authority over the elected government of Ireland, are being kept secret.

The European Commission, the IMF and the ECB will not release the names or backgrounds of those involved or even the number of officials in the team other than to say, according to EU economy spokesman Amadeu Tardio: "There will be more than two but fewer than 10 people going."

"These people do not do press conferences. They do not need to speak to the press. They are simply the best placed experts to receive information from authorities and discuss with them the preparations of an eventual programme."

Those involved will be different officials from those in the inspection team that regularly visits Greece to see whether the government is keeping to its agreement with the troika in imposing the demanded austerity measures.

The Irish team will come from the Irish desks in the three institutions "to ensure that they aren't starting from scratch." From the European Commission, experts from both the economics and finance and the competition directorates general.

"They are people who deal with the Irish economy on a daily basis. Different people, but the same sort of daily experience as the people who are dealing with the Greeks," continued Mr Tardio.

"These people do not need to have a public profile. They are quite anonymous," he said. "They are inspectors, but the decisions are not taken by them, but those who hold political responsibility such as the commissioner."

"They simply report back to their headquarters in Brussels, Washington and Frankfurt."

Esther Miltenia, a spokeswoman for the European Central Bank said: "We are not giving details of who is participating in the trip. Do you ever get to know who is there from the IMF in Latin America? This is the same thing."

"People do not need to know who these inspectors are."