Spain's prime minister has hailed a eurozone lifeline of up to €100 billion to save its stricken banks as a victory for his nation and for Europe.

Despite flatly denying any need for a rescue just 13 days earlier, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted Madrid had not caved in - instead he had been pressuring for the aid.

After an emergency video conference yesterday, the 17 eurozone finance ministers said in a statement that they were "willing to respond favourably" to a Spanish plea for help.

"I am very satisfied, I think we have taken a very decisive step," Mr Rajoy, who had been criticised in the media for failing to appear earlier, told a news conference.

"Yesterday, the credibility of the euro won, its future, and the European Union," the prime minister argued.

"It was not easy," he conceded.

"Nobody pressured me and I don't know if I should say this, but it was I who pressured for a line of credit."

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said the decision provides an assurance that the financing needs of Spain's banking system will be fully met.

Ms Lagarde said the €100bn figure was consistent with the IMF's estimate and should provide assurance that the financing needs of Spanish banks will be fully met.

Meanwhile US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the announcement was “important for the health of Spain's economy and as concrete steps on the path to financial union, which is vital to the resilience of the euro area."

Hayes insists Spain did not get better deal than Ireland

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s This Week programme, the Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes has described the eurozone’s decision as very important.

Mr Hayes said the deal on Spain would help Ireland regain stability and added that Ireland would not achieve its target growth rates unless there was stability in the eurozone.

Mr Hayes said that Ireland, however, still has some unfinished work and that the principal issue that the Government would continue to negotiate on was the Anglo promissory note.

He rejected claims that the agreement was a better deal for Spain than Ireland got.

Mr Hayes said that the cost of the loan to Spain was the same as the cost to Ireland.

"This is the same money that was lent to us, in terms of the cost is the same that is going to be lent to Spain." he said.

“There will be a memorandum of understanding, there will be conditionality in terms of the financial sector; the Troika will be involved, the IMF will be involved.

“I think to present this as some better deal for Spain is just not right, on the basis that they have already come into an agreement with the EU Commission under the excessive deficit rule that they have got their deficit down to under 3% by 2014".

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said it was clear that Spain got more favourable terms on its EU loan than the Irish Government did.

“Many people will ask why the Fine Gael-Labour coalition could not have secured the same terms," he said.