Friday 20 April 2018

Editorial: Time EU Commission got off our backs

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan pictured at Government Buildings
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan pictured at Government Buildings

The European Commission's obscure approach to assessing Ireland's budgetary position is hardly helping the Government in reassuring the public there is less austerity on the horizon. Known for preferring to under-promise and over-deliver, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has been upbeat in his early assessment that less than €2bn of cutbacks will be required in next year's budget for the country to meet the required deficit reduction target. Mr Noonan has added the caveat that the final figure is dependent upon Exchequer figures as the clock ticks down to the October delivery of Budget 2015.

Nonetheless, the Finance Minister was conceding no such ground this time last year so he is clearly confident of continued progress in the public finances. Not only is the Department of Finance showing uncharacteristic optimism, but the country's leading independent economic thinktank, the ESRI, also feels a lesser adjustment will be adequate.

The Fiscal Advisory Council is also supporting the Department of Finance figures. Along comes the European Commission with its first inspection report sincer the bailout on Ireland saying the Government needs to make an adjustment of more than €2bn in the next budget if it is to bring the deficit below 3pc of GDP.

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