Saturday 24 March 2018

Michael Noonan to meet euro chiefs over Anglo debt reduction reporters

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan will use a trip to Brussels this week to raise the issue of a reduction on Anglo Irish Bank debt.

Annual payments of €3bn per annum will soon kick in relation to promissory notes or IOUs on debts at the bank which is now known as IRBC.

These debts total €30bn and the Government is keen to agree better repayment terms and/or lower interest rates with the EU/ECB/IMF troika.

Mr Noonan will meet EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn tomorrow and later in the day he will discuss the issue with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

“There are talks going on as you know,” Mr Noonan said today in Brussels.

“At a working group meeting about ten days ago there was an agreement that the troika or their superiors would get together and develop a common paper..

“That work is proceeding. Tomorrow I’m meeting Mr Rehn to discuss the issue with him and tomorrow afternoon I’m going down to Frankfurt to meet Mario Draghi. I have a meeting for about an hour down there so it’s proceeding,” he said.

“It’s a long decision-making process in Europe always, so we certainly have made progress at the level of the technical level. But of course, in the end of the day, to get a decision will be a matter for 27 individual countries.

“I’ve had conversations in Berlin with [German finance minister} Wolfgang Schauble last week and we sent some people to Paris the following day to talk to representatives of the treasury so we have intensified our efforts but I think it will take some time and we don’t want to get it entangled in other issues.”

Discussions will also take place on the so-called fiscal compact designed to reduce the debts of European countries.

It is not yet known whether the fiscal compact, which could mean constitutional changes relating to countries budgets, will prompt a referendum in Ireland.

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