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What they're saying about Olli Rehn's visit

A round-up of international coverage on EU Commissioner Rehn’s visit to Ireland.

THE EU COMMISSONER FOR ECONOMIC and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn is in Ireland to meet with government ministers and opposition party politicians over Ireland’s budget deficit.

Reuters reports that the visit was planned to “bolster Irish efforts to lance the worst budget deficit” in the EU and convince the markets it doesn’t need a “Greek-style bailout”.

Rehn said last night that a bailout was not discussed in his meeting with Brian Lenihan, and that he welcomed government plans to cut the deficit. He said the release of detailed “consolidation measures” would “provide the necessary clarity for the future fiscal sustainability both to the people and to the markets”, according to Reuters.

Rehn has indicated Ireland may have to abandon the “low tax” policies which helped foster the boom, Bloomberg reports.

Ireland is “struggling to convince investors it can avoid a rescue” as the country battles the financial pressure of saving Anglo, according to Bloomberg.

The Commissioner called for cross-party consensus on next month’s budget, saying it would help boost the austerity plan, the AFP reports. Ireland was the first eurozone member to enter recession in 2008, the AFP continues, as the country was hit with the global financial downturn, the property market collapse, and rising unemployment.

Rehn’s consensus comments are understood to reflect concern in Brussels that the government may not succeed in getting its budget passed next month, the Financial Times reports.

The FT reports that yesterday’s record bond prices indicate investors’ concerns and are fuelling speculation that Ireland may call for a bailout.

Irish bond prices are encouraging investors to stick with gold, according to the Globe and Mail. Gold specialist Michael Daly said: “The bond situation in Ireland was worse than expected, so investors looked to move money into a safe haven, which is gold”.

Rehn is holding separate meetings with the Labour Party, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin in Dublin today.