THE Government has secured the backing of all 27 EU finance ministers for a deal on our IMF bailout loans, Michael Noonan said today.
The confirmation of the deal, which covers €18bn of IMF loans, comes on the back of political approval from Euro group ministers.
“I am delighted to be able to announce today that we have now cleared all the political hurdles required to support our plan to replace portions of our IMF loans with cheaper market funding,” Mr Noonan said today after meeting EU finance ministers in Milan.
Earlier Minister Noonan said the savings – which could be €300m next year – would be factored into Budget 2015, after European leaders backed Irish plans aimed at cutting the interest bill on the bailout debt.
The EU support was widely anticipated, but getting the deal early enough for Budget 2015 was not expected.
It means the loans can be paid back more quickly and are cheaper.
The plan will save taxpayers €1.5bn over the next five to seven years, Mr Noonan said. That would work out at between €214m and €300m a year.
“Following discussions with the leaders of various institutions earlier in the week, there were three important hurdles to clear this weekend; support from Eurogroup Ministers, Ecofin Ministers and our bilateral lenders the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark," he said.
“Officials will now progress this political agreement and I would be hopeful that the NTMA will be in a position to refinance the first tranche of our IMF loans by the end of this year. This is a significant agreement which has the potential to yield interest savings of over €1.5bn over the five year period,” he said.
“This is a further piece of the jigsaw of improving our debt sustainability and will have real and positive impact for the Irish taxpayer.”
Germany's Bundestag will have to vote to approve the deal in October.