EU economics chief Olli Rehn said yesterday that he would support a "readjustment" of the cost of the promissory notes.
"I have sympathy and understanding on the issue related to reducing the debt burden of Ireland in relation to the promissory note," he told reporters in the European Parliament.
"The technical negotiations are going on and from the Commission's side we are supportive of a solution," he said.
Two weeks ago Mr Rehn insisted that Ireland repay the first €3.06bn on the notes, which comes due on March 31. However, he appeared yesterday to backtrack.
"I see that it is in the interest of the European Union and Ireland that we respect our commitments. At the same time I have always been in favour of looking into a readjustment of certain elements of the Irish debt burden because it is inevitably formidable," he said.
"Negotiations are going on concerning the promissory note both in the short-term and even more importantly in the longer term," he added.
Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan said yesterday that a deal was likely before March 31.