The European Commission will launch disciplinary action against Ireland in the coming weeks for allowing a sharp deterioration in its public finances, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Monday.
"We will start the procedures to open an excessive deficit procedure with a recommendation to correct the deficit in the coming weeks," Almunia told journalists in Brussels.
Ireland, which has long run budget surpluses, will see its public finances swing deep into deficit this year with a shortfall equal to 5.5 percent of output, the European Commission estimated earlier Monday.
That would put the Irish public deficit well beyond a limit of 3.0 percent normally allowed in the European Union.
However, the commission forecast that the situation would only get worse, estimating that the difference between Ireland's spending and revenues would rise to 6.8 percent in 2009 and 7.2 percent in 2010.