Budget: Trichet backs €15bn cuts plan

The head of the European Central Bank has given a cautious welcome to the government's plan for €15bn of measures to cut the budget deficit by 2014.

Speaking after yesterday's council meeting of the bank, Jean Claude Trichet said figure was "not insufficient".

He did not have a negative view of it, he said.

But Mr Trichet added that a front-loading of the fiscal adjustment was of "extreme importance".

The ECB president also said that Ireland's debt problems were not comparable to those of Greece, as they were more concerned with commercial banks.

"I will not make such comparisons to Greece -- we have situations that are very different by many means," he said.

"The Irish situation is more one of commercial banks in nature in comparison with the Greek situation -- the challenges are not the same, so there is such no proximity between the countries," he added.

Mr Trichet said momentum underlying the eurozone's economic recovery remains positive but uncertainty about the outlook still prevails.

His assessment of the economy was essentially unchanged despite a run of strong economic data in recent weeks.

The ECB president also said that reforms of the EU's economic governance agreed by EU leaders last week strengthened the existing rules, but did not go as far as what the ECB had been calling for.