Sunday 30 April 2017

Coalition confident of spending leeway after EC proposal

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to visit Dublin
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to visit Dublin

Niall O'Connor and Colm Kelpie

THE Government is growing increasingly confident it will be given more leeway for spending next year as it prepares to set out a five-year plan for the Irish economy.

In a boost for the coalition, the European Commission and Government have agreed a proposal that will allow for more flexibility in spending, but the proposal still has to be put to other Eurozone governments for approval. Senior Government figures, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan, will meet the French Prime Minister in Dublin as they step up their campaign to secure greater budget flexibility.

Mr Noonan yesterday announced he had accepted proposals from the European Commission on the area of spending - but will require support from member states such as France. The Government has been pushing for an easing of EU spending rules for Ireland given the faster than expected growth in the economy.

The meeting with the French prime minister will take place on April 23 and be followed by the announcement of the Government's Spring Statement just days later. It's understood the decision by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls to visit Dublin has prompted the Government to push the announcement of the Spring Statement back by a week.

Ireland's argument regarding the EU fiscal rules is that they were designed and implemented in times of a financial crisis.

The European Commission sets limits on how much a country can spend on its growth rates, but the Government argues Brussels is using growth forecasts for Ireland based on the crisis years.

Irish Independent

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