Adenauer and friends seek to block Ireland's 85bn Euro bailout

Lawyer and playwright among those against bailout as fears grow that Spain could be next to fall
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The Independent Online

A German coalition comprising a controversial playwright, the grandson of the first Chancellor of the post-war federal republic and a campaigning constitutional lawyer will challenge Ireland's 85bn Euro bailout this week.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU are expected to agree terms on the bailout early this week. Professor Markus Kerber, a constitutional expert and Berlin-based academic, is acting for 50 clients on challenging any kind of bailout. He filed a challenge in Germany against the Greek bailout earlier this year, arguing that the move was unconstitutional. He has asked his 50 clients to approve plans to amend this to include Ireland, once a bailout package is agreed.

Mr Kerber and his supporters are looking for an injunction against Germany releasing its share of the funds to Ireland. He said: "The request for a provisional injunction to stop using funds in the Irish case will start next week or the week after, depending on when there is [a bailout] agreement."

His supporters include Patrick Adenauer, of the Association of Independent Entrepreneurs and Family-Owned Companies in Berlin, and Rolf Hochhuth, the dramatist. Mr Adenauer is the grandson of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Rolf Hochhuth is best known in the UK for his 1960s play The Deputy, which criticised Pope Pius XII's role in the Second World War, and for his support for historian David Irving, the alleged Holocaust denier.

The UK's share of the bailout is likely to be at least £7bn and George Osborne, the Chancellor, has spoken frequently about the Government's support for the country.

Ireland's bailout is vital as the EU looks to stop concerns over the country's devastated banking system spreading to other member countries. At the end of last week the EU denied that Portugal was the latest to seek billions of euros to salvage the country. A spokesman for the Economic Affairs Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said Portugal's debt-reduction plan was exemplary: "Portugal has taken all the necessary decisions to be on the safe side."

On Friday, Portugal approved next year's budget, which aims to reduce its deficit from 9.3 per cent to 7.3 per cent of GDP within three years. Prime Minister José Socrates said last week: "We must put Portugal out of the focus of the crisis. This budget will defend the country against the eurozone crisis."

However, the big fear is that Spain will need to be bailed out. The problem is that the EU and IMF are unlikely to have the finances to save the country: it is, in effect, too big to fail. Should Spain collapse, the end of the euro would become a genuine possibility.

Mr Kerber's supporters, who include owners of big business and directors of trade associations, will decide on whether to challenge any other bailout. In all likelihood they will do so, as Mr Kerber insists the latest action is nothing personally against the Irish state.

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