European Officials Move to Stabilize Irish Banks

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Europe is looking for a solution to the latest debt crisis in Ireland. EU officials will be traveling to the Emerald Isle to see just how bad the county's banking problems are as they to come up with a rescue plan that will keep bond market turmoil from spreading to Portugal and Spain.

European Union and Irish officials are trying to find a way to stabilize Ireland's banks and restore confidence to the entire 16-nation Eurozone.

The United Kingdom said it's willing to support Ireland, but the EU is not offering a bailout of any kind.

"It is natural (that the U.K. would be interested in helping to stabilize Ireland), because the United Kingdom and U.K. banks have a very, very significant exposure in Ireland," said the EU's monetary affairs chief Olli Rehn.

Ireland said it does not need a bailout since it has enough money through the middle of next year and is concerned of the strings attached to a rescue by the International Monetary Fund.

"What we're involved in here is working with colleagues in respect of currency problems and euro-issue problems that are affecting Ireland (and) other countries," Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen told lawmakers in Dublin Wednesday.

Europe's top priority is containing the crisis, so that it doesn't spread to the rest of the EU and hurt the global financial system.

Ireland has nationalized three banks and is expected to take over more in a bailout that has already reached an estimated $61 billion. Such a move will likely push the nation's 2010 deficit to a staggering 32 percent of GDP - ten times the level allowed under EU rules.

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