Noonan's Anglo restructuring proposal not yet agreed
Published 20/02/2012 | 05:00
FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan will not bring forward a proposal to restructure Anglo Irish Bank's bailout at tonight's meeting of eurozone finance chiefs because a "common proposal" has not yet been agreed with the international authorities.
The minister never openly spoke of bringing the plans to this week's finance ministers' meetings, but officials working on the plans thought it would be possible since Mr Noonan initially said he wanted the work completed "by the end of February".
The Irish Independent understands that the minister did not intend the "end of February" to be a rigid deadline and that proposals to restructure the €30bn Anglo 'IOU' are not on the agenda that has been circulated to finance ministers ahead of this week's meetings.
A spokesman for the minister declined to comment on whether he would try to raise the issue informally, but it is thought very unlikely since finance ministers will be preoccupied with Greece's rescue. Asked about the status of negotiations, the spokesman said the IMF, EC and ECB were continuing to work on a "common policy position" that would set up a way to lessen the €3.1bn-a-year burden on the taxpayer from repaying the €30bn 'IOU' that's now held by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).
"As the minister has highlighted, this is a medium-term strategy and we are a long way from a conclusion and from a satisfactory result," he added. "The decision-making process in the EU will take time."
One of the plans being considered is to have Europe's bailout fund give IBRC a new 'IOU' that would be paid down swiftly using funds raised by Europe. Ireland could then repay Europe over a longer period of time. Another plan could result in some of Anglo's tailor-made IOU being replaced with a normal Government bond. Both the European plan and the Government bond plan could give Ireland some breathing space before the debts have to be paid off.