March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Ireland criticized what it described as the leaking of a European Commission report on the Irish bailout and has raised the issue with Germany’s Finance Ministry and the commission, Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said today.
The commission said Ireland may “require additional fiscal tightening later in the year” if the macroeconomic situation worsens, according to the document obtained by Bloomberg News, which was supplied to lawmakers by Germany’s Finance Ministry. Gilmore said the government wouldn’t need to introduce a supplementary budget later in the year seeking further savings.
“I am unhappy at the way in which this document was handled and the way in which it was leaked,” Gilmore told lawmakers, who complained that they hadn’t seen the document before their German counterparts. “I intend to discuss it with our ambassador in Berlin and to ensure that the way in which this document was handled is not repeated.”
In November, the government drew criticism from opposition lawmakers after a plan to raise the sales-tax rate was provided to German lawmakers before being presented in the Irish parliament. The European Commission is scheduled to publish the report today, according to Gilmore.
“How is it that parliamentarians in Germany see it before any member of this house and debate it?” Mary Lou McDonald, deputy leader of Ireland’s opposition Sinn Fein party, asked Gilmore during leader’s questions in Dublin today.
The commission said in a statement today it is “deeply concerned about the apparent leaking” of its report on Ireland’s progress under the financial assistance program.
The Irish government said Feb. 28 it will hold a referendum to ratify the European fiscal compact. Eamon O’Cuiv, the deputy leader of the Fianna Fail, Ireland’s largest opposition party, resigned yesterday, because of support of his party’s leader for the accord without concessions on Irish bank debts.
The leak is a “considerable embarrassment” to the government following its referendum announcement, Juliet Tennent, an economist with Goodbody Stockbrokers in Dublin, said in a note today.
“Fears that further austerity may be necessary make the treaty more difficult to sell to the Irish public,” she said.
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