The figures for the Irish bail-out are now available in full.
The euro-zone countries are contributing €17.5 billion – which is fair enough, I suppose, if they see the survival of the single currency as being in their own interests. But the EU as a whole, including non-euro states, is contributing a further €22.5 billion. Despite having kept the pound, Britain is liable for nearly €3 billion (£2.5 billion) as part of a contingency reserve that was supposedly set up to deal with natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes.
The three original countries which have rejected the euro, Britain, Denmark and Sweden, are all additionally making bilateral contributions equivalent to what they would have paid as members of the euro-zone fund. Indeed, the United Kingdom is paying slightly more than its share: an additional loan of €3.8 billion (£3.2 billion). As Douglas Carswell keeps telling anyone who’ll listen, we may be outside the EU’s monetary union, but we are not outside its debt union.
It will be interesting to see what excuses George Osborne provides when he gets drawn into a EU-led bailout of Spain.