Business Irish

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Irish case a sideshow as world frets over Spain

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

IRELAND was very much a sideshow to the real issues as finance ministers met in Luxembourg.

Spain is the centre of attention these days with markets waiting for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to request a full-blown bailout.

Germany's Wolfgang Schaueble said the country "needs no aid programme. It is doing everything necessary, in fiscal policy, in structural reforms".

Luxembourg's Luc Frieden agreed, saying the country was undertaking reforms in the "right direction" while Austria's Maria Fekter also made positive noises.

It's clear that when it comes to the eurozone's priorities right now, Ireland's plight is well down the "to do list".

Greece's perilous position was also in the spotlight as intense negotiations continue between the government in Athens and the troika on budget cuts for 2013.

Riots

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to visit Greece today for the first time since the crisis began. She is unlikely to receive a warm welcome with the 7,000 police on standby for fear of riots.

With Spain and Greece dominating the eurozone's thinking, Ireland was never going to be high up on the agenda.

But before we worry too much, the fact is that few decisions are made at so-called eco-fin meetings.

These meetings, which once moved markets, are fast becoming scene setters where positions are laid out before the leaders meet in two weeks' time.

Irish Independent

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