I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 61 together.
The Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) on Monday 21 May considered in a conference call the state of play in financial markets and in Greece, as it usually does. The teleconference was organized following the G8 Summit where the situation in Greece was discussed. There was also the fact that Greece would be going to the polls for the second time on Sunday 17 June. The French and German leaders said at G8 that Greece should remain in the eurozone, but would need to be helped by the EU to return to growth.
Following this conference call, and due to rumours circulating about the purpose of the call, the EWG clarified that there had been no agreement to develop national contingency plans nor any discussion of an exit of Greece from the euro area. The June 17th elections in Greece were positive from a European perspective, with parties broadly committed to implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) forming a government.
I am also heartened by the statement following the Heads of State and Government meeting last week which announced a significant decision about the possibility of the ESM being used to recapitalize banks directly and that the Eurogroup would examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with a view to improving the sustainability of our adjustment programme. The response of the financial markets to this development has been extremely positive with the cost of borrowing for the Irish sovereign falling significantly in the secondary market.