Saturday 17 February 2018

Talks may offer a base for fiscal compromises

NEW government, same old paymasters. Yesterday's meetings between the dual financial ministers and the EU, IMF and ECB were described as "getting to know you" talks. They will certainly see a lot of each other in coming years.

Perhaps it was not the best day for Health Minister James Reilly to announce the abolition of the new 50c prescription charge. Whatever the decision's merits, it adds to the impression of a government keen to reverse unpopular measures, but not sure how to make up the lost revenue.

The position of the IMF is pretty clear. Governments have scope to change the details in bailout agreements, but the promised reductions in the deficit must be delivered. As a former senior IMF official says in our business section today, if the plans do not pass scrutiny every three months, cheques will not be delivered.

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