“The Celtic tiger is gasping for breath,” declared a commentary this week in the German daily Die S?ddeutsche, which highlighted the fear of many in Europe's largest economy that it will be the one that will have to provide the emergency oxygen.
That Germany will have to step in is now not in much doubt, despite denials from Ireland that it needs help. The question being asked is how much of the burden Germany would be expected to bear.
German taxpayers are still smarting from the Greek bailout in May, which led to ugly headlines in the mass-market Bild about excessively profligate Greeks and how frustrated Germans were cancelling their holidays to Crete in protest at having to pay for their fellow Europeans’ unchecked excesses. Six months on, anger towards Ireland is not yet as acute, but there is growing unease about the idea of having to pay again for a fellow European country, particularly one whose per capita annual income is around €34,000 - more than Germany's €30,000.