Flanagan and Hayes press Juncker on Irish debt

MEPs urge incoming European Commission president to honour commitment

Independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan urged incoming European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker  to honour his commitment to  Ireland regarding bank debt. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

Independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan urged incoming European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to honour his commitment to Ireland regarding bank debt. Photograph: Keith Heneghan

Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 12:13

Two Irish MEPs yesterday pressed incoming European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on the issue of Ireland’s claim for debt relief.

During a closed meeting between the European People’s Party (EPP) and the proposed head of the European Commission, Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes outlined the importance of honouring the June 2012 agreement to separate Irish banking debt and sovereign debt.

Meanwhile Independent MEP Luke Ming Flanagan urged the former Luxembourg prime minister to honour his commitment to Ireland regarding bank debt, when the former head of the euro group appeared before the GUE-NGL group, of which Mr Flanagan is a member.

“On Thursday, January 10th, 2014… you said about Ireland: ‘I think there must be some degree of retroactivity in the mechanism or otherwise it makes little sense,’” Mr Flanagan told Mr Juncker in the public hearing.

“It seems that was just a line in your whole spitzenkandidat process, to convince people to vote for EPP candidate.”

Mr Flanagan said the Irish people had been “bit by bit… fed lies by the government and the EU” on the issue, adding that it was internationally reported that Ireland was a special case following a conversation between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Chancellor Angela Merkel in October 2012.

“You are aware that Ireland bailed out the European banking system to the tune of €67 billion, 42 per cent of the European bank bailout, 40 per cent for 1 per cent of the population. We want our money back.”

MEPs are due to vote on Mr Juncker’s appointment next Tuesday in Strasbourg. Though the vote is by secret ballot, Mr Juncker is virtually certain to be elected as the main European political groups have already indicated they will support him.