Saturday 16 December 2017

Taoiseach and Merkel discuss our bailout exit

Lise Hand

Lise Hand

ENDA Kenny has discussed the preparations for exiting the bailout next month with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Government is expected to announce that it is exiting the bailout without the safety net of an overdraft facility.

The Taoiseach spoke with several EU leaders at a conference in Paris yesterday, hosted by French President Francois Hollande, on tackling youth unemployment levels.

"I spoke to eight or 10 of the leaders and I gave them an indication of the fact that we're still consulting with people. We've gathered a deal of information and advice and we'll make our decision obviously before December 15," he said.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has yet to reveal whether the Government will take up the option of a backstop.

Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes said at the weekend that a clean exit from the bailout would make Ireland more attractive to foreign investment.

Mr Kenny said the Government was on track to meet the target set to access the new €8bn EU fund aimed at tackling unemployment by providing training, education and apprenticeships.

He said the plans to go ahead with the EU youth guarantee of access to a job, education or training must not "get strangled" in bureaucracy.

Mr Kenny warned EU leaders that failing to prepare for the expanding digital economy risked losing out on nearly one million jobs.

Meanwhile, there are further indications that the Government will announced its decision on the credit line after the bailout in the coming weeks.

EU officials do not expect a decision on how to handle exit from bailout programme by the time of this week's EU finance ministers' meeting.

Irish Independent

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