Saturday 20 July 2019

Greece needs to accept Europe’s terms - Michael Noonan

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

Cormac Fitzgerald

The Minister for Finance has said that he has great sympathy for the Greek people, but that they need to accept Europe’s monetary terms if the country is to recover.

Michael Noonan said that there was a lack of trust between Greece and the rest of Europe and that the patience from eurozone leaders had nearly run out.

Speaking on the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, he also said that he had great sympathy for Greece and wouldn’t like a Grexit to happen, but that he didn’t want the Irish taxpayer to foot any more of the bill for their recovery.

“The conditionally to assure me that Greece will be stabilised and that their economy will grow and that they’ll get their people back to work and have a future as a modern European country: that’s the test I’ll be implying,” said Minister Noonan.

Minister Noonan also defended himself against politicians who said that he was playing domestic politics on the international stage, and was hoping that Greece wouldn’t get a debt writedown as it would signal his failure in failing to get a similar deal for Ireland.

“It was a political charge,” said Minister Noonan. “My position was absolutely clear from the start: I want Greece to stay in the Eurozone and I’m prepared to be one of the ministers around the table that negotiates a settlement.”

He strongly criticised the Greek government for the that fact that banks have been closed for over a week, and still remain closed.

“That was a disaster. Once you close banks and there’s no liquidity, it has a permanent damaging effect on the economy,” said Minister Noonan.

He also defended the Government’s approach to the financial crisis and the tough fiscal measures that were taken during the bailout programme.

“What you do is you take ownership of the programme and you try to take you people with you,” said Minister Noonan. “We’re the fastest growing country in Europe because we took control of the programme.”

“Greece has had 2 programmes already and they haven’t advanced very much. There’s €240bn of European taxpayers money - some of it coming from countries that are a lot worse off than Greece,” said the Minister.

The Minister finished saying that the Greek government needed to be tougher on people not paying tax if the country was to properly recover.

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