Thursday 24 May 2018

EU debt deal is not likely to happen before next year

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny says it will take another year of negotiations before the country will get delivery on the EU commitment to separate bank and sovereign debt.

Mr Kenny said the EU decision of June 29, 2012 has delivered results, but there is more work required on a comprehensive debt deal.

He said the deals on the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note, the interest rate and loan extensions and maturities on Ireland's debt all followed on from the EU signal.

"I was actually very pleased with the extent of decision we got through in the Presidency, both in terms of the capital requirements for recovery and resolution, single supervisory mechanism and the recognition that there are now a number of opportunities that are available to Ireland to get back to a position where our debt is far more sustainable.

"That work will be continued by Michael Noonan in the autumn and probably will come through next year. We'd be hopeful of that," he said.

Mr Kenny said there was still progress to be made on implementing the decision – particularly in terms of EU bailout funds being injected directly into the banks.

"The decision of June 29 said the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) would have the possibility of direct recapitalisation. Now there are a variety of methods by which that might be agreed or might be arrived at, and that's where we need to be.

"And that's why I'm happy that all of the tools are now in place to reach a final conclusion on all of that," he said.

"A year on, we actually made more progress than a lot of people imagined.

"Let's say another year on, our challenge, if you like, is by whatever method to get the best return for our taxpayer to make our debt more sustainable and that's where our focus at that level is going to be.

GOODWILL

"We now have a set of tools that if they are used creatively here, we can achieve, I think, a great deal out of that.

"That would be next year," he said.

Mr Kenny said Ireland's EU Presidency has built a lot of goodwill for the country and there will be a return as a result.

He said the country should be "very proud" of the officials who put in the preparation and work for the Presidency.

"It has enhanced Ireland's reputation. It has restored our credibility. It's given a sense to big countries that here is a small country that can run a Presidency really effectively and I have had messages from all over Europe about the extent of delivery with which people were exceptionally happy, I have to say," he said.

Irish Independent

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