Irish PM Enda Kenny met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin (AP)

Irish PM Enda Kenny met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin (AP)

The European Commission has said it regrets embarrassing leaks from the Irish Government's budget plans to save 3.8 billion euro (£3.3 billion).

Proposals on a 2% VAT rise and a flat rate 100 euro (£85.50) household levy were inspected by a German parliamentary committee this week as Irish PM Enda Kenny held talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A spokesman for Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, confirmed officials in Brussels sent the Budget 2012 document to finance ministries in all 27 EU states.

"On behalf of the Commission the leaks are regrettable," said Amadeu Altafaj Tardio.

"We insist that this is a draft and that we have a legal obligation to share the information that we receive from the authorities in Dublin with the member states. This is actually our mandate."

Mr Tardio said budget information must be shared among EU states as part of the 85 billion euro (£72 billion) bailout loan deal Ireland struck with the European Central Bank (ECB), the Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"Ireland sees the same information from the Troika about Greece, for example," he said.

German politicians sitting on a budget committee in the lower house of parliament were also given access to the document under strict rules reinforced by the country's Constitutional Court. The Bundestag rather than the government in Berlin decides whether the country is willing to keep funding bailout packages.

But the Commission insisted it did not forward the unsigned, draft budget document to the German parliament.

The Commission statement said: "In the case of Germany, we understand there is a legal obligation to share this information with the Budget Committee of the Bundestag as it has a central role in deciding on these disbursements. What happened there is the sole responsibility of the German authorities."