Irish and Greek debts sustainable: EU rescue fund chief

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 02, 2011 7:55 AM
Irish and Greek debts sustainable: EU rescue fund chief

DUBLIN (Reuters) - European authorities and the International Monetary Fund believe Ireland and Greece can sustain their debts while it is up to Portugal whether it joins them in seeking help, the head of Europe's rescue fund said. Fears Ireland will not be able to shoulder the burden of one of the world's most costliest bank bailouts have overshadowed the government's pledge to recapitalize its financial system by 24 billion euros and draw a line under its woes.

Klaus Regling, head of the European Financial Stability Facility, said last week that there were risks to the assumption that Greece would pay back its debts, but he did not identify any similar risks to Ireland in an interview with the Irish Times on Saturday.

"The assessment of the three institutions that have the task to make this kind of assessment -- the IMF, the European Commission and the ECB -- is that these countries will reach a sustainable debt situation at the end of their programmes," Regling told the newspaper.

"Portugal is struggling internally whether they should ask for assistance or not, we shall see, it's their decision. It's these three countries that will have serious problems for a while, but not the euro area as a whole."

"Spain overall is in much better shape. There's no programme, no need for financial emergency assistance in Spain."

Regling, who was speculated last month as being Germany's candidate for the presidency of the European Central Bank, repeated that he was happy in his current job and not a candidate.

"I am not a candidate and I'm happy to be here to manage the EFSF and to prepare the ESM," Regling said.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Ron Askew)