NAMA 'Essential', Says EU Commissioner

The controversial NAMA plan has been described as 'essential' for tackling Ireland's banking crisis, according to the EU's economy chief.

Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia called for the Dáil to agree to implement the new agency as soon as possible.

Speaking today Mr Almunia said: "My wishes for the next couple of months here is first that the NAMA will be adopted by the parliament as soon as possible.

"It is one very important issue."

After talks with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan the senior European figure also claimed everybody but the poorest in society must shoulder the burden of tackling the crisis.

Last month Mr Lenihan told the Dáil NAMA would pay out €54bn to wipe toxic assets and loans from the banks balance sheets – €7bn over the odds.

This afternoon however, reports have emerged that the European Commission is insisting Mr Almunia had not endorsed NAMA but instead just the idea of a bad-bank rescue plan.

As the NAMA controversy continues to unfold, the Finance Minister Brian Lenihan has denied a new legally-binding bank levy included in the NAMA legislation was agreed in a bid to keep the Greens in government.

The Green Party's members are due to vote tomorrow on whether to approve the legislation setting up the agency.

However, speaking in Dublin this morning, Mr Lenihan said the Government always planned to impose a levy as part of the scheme and yesterday's decision was not a concession to anybody.


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