Irish to exit bailout in 2013, says Schäuble
GERMANY’S FINANCE minister Wolfgang Schäuble is confident that Ireland can exit its current troika-funded bailout programme at the end of 2013.
“I am totally confident that Ireland is on track ,” Mr Schäuble said in Dublin yesterday. “No problem at all. I am confident 100 per cent.”
He cited the International Monetary Fund’s latest quarterly report earlier this month, which showed that Ireland continues to meet the terms of the bailout programme.
Mr Schäuble paid a brief visit to Dublin yesterday, holding a 40-minute meeting with Minister for Finance Michael Noonan andMinister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin at Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Mr Schäuble declined to comment on the issue of the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes.
“It is a matter between the Irish Government and the European Central Bank,” he said. “It is not a good idea to make a comment on this matter.”
On the promissory notes issue, Mr Noonan said: “There is engagement and we hope that progress can be made.”
The German minister said he would be as supportive to Ireland as in the past when asked about the possibility of securing a deal on Irish bank debt. Mr Schäuble caused consternation last month when he suggested Ireland could not expect a retrospective deal on the legacy debts of our banks.
The minister said the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) should be used only for future bank recapitalisations.
Yesterday, he referenced the joint statement released by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and German chancellor Angela Merkel on October 21st, which described Ireland as a “special case”.
The joint communique sought to take the sting out of earlier comments by Dr Merkel at the Brussels summit just two days earlier when she ruled out relief for “legacy” bank debt via the ESM.
Mr Schäuble said he agreed “100 per cent” with the content of the October 21st statement. He said if politicians did not “stick to the same sentences” then some “innovative interpretation” of their comments could result.
Mr Schäuble said it was important to “avoid” any announcements that might be “misunderstood” by the financial markets.
He also noted that ECB president Mario Draghi had stated recently it was likely to be 2014 before a new supervisory regime for banks in the 17-nation euro area would be operational.
Mr Noonan described the meeting as a “very good exchange of views” while Mr Howlin said it had been helpful and the ministers had a “very clear understanding” of each other’s positions.
Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the prospect of a deal on our legacy bank debts was “slipping further and further into the distance”. He said the Government was now concentrating on the promissory notes: “We are none-the-wiser as to what Ireland’s ‘special case’ status will mean when it comes to securing a deal on bank debt.”
Sinn Féin’s spokesman on finance Pearse Doherty said there was no evidence of the German government having shifted its position in relation to legacy debt.