Amid worries that the €750bn safety net offered by Europe for the single currency might not be enough to cope with the spreading emergency, the EU is expected to make an announcement regarding a bailout of about €85bn (£72bn) for Ireland.
Sources said that Brian Lenihan, the beleaguered Irish finance minister, is to travel to Brussels or Luxembourg for making the bailout statement with Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg's prime minister and head of the Eurogroup of 16 single currency countries, and Olli Rehn, EU commissioner for economic and financial affairs. The announcment will be preceded by a meeting of eurozone finance ministers to rubber-stamp the bailout, which is expected to be conducted via video conferencing.
The commission was lobbying for the largest part of the fund, the €440bn European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), to be doubled according to media reports from Germany. Berlin was quick to say that there was no chance of increasing the fund value and Brussels dismissed the reports.
Axel Weber, head of German central bank and a contentious figure who has been critical of the Greek bailout, said €750bn "should be more than enough to counter attacks on the eurozone. If it's not enough, then one will have to increase this commitment."
The bailout fund is split in three – €250bn from the International Monetary Fund, €60bn from the commission, and €440bn in a Luxembourg-based facility underwritten by eurozone government guarantees.
A commission official said, "The commission has never proposed such a thing. It's not our money so it makes no sense at all. As for Weber, he's saying things that are not really helpful."