Ireland 'will insist on similar deal' if any secured by Greece

Coveney says same rules must apply to Greece as to all other European Union countries

Ireland will insist that any new or better deal secured by Greece will also apply to Ireland, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

Ireland will insist that any new or better deal secured by Greece will also apply to Ireland, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

 

Ireland will insist that any new or better deal secured by Greece will also apply to Ireland, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras yesterday ruled out requesting an extension of the Greek bailout when meeting his European counterparts at a summit in Brussels this week.

Rather than an extension of the bailout when it expires on February 28th, Mr Tsipras reiterated his demand for a bridge programme to tide the country over until June, when a more long-standing loan arrangement can be established.

He expressed confidence that agreement could be reached between Greece and its international lenders.

Mr Coveney said the same rules must apply to Greece as to all other European Union countries.

“What we would encourage Greece to do is exactly what Ireland has done. Which is to restructure and change the way that their debt is to be repaid so they can reduce that debt burden,” Mr Coveney said.

“Ireland and other European countries will be looking for ways in which we can help Greece do that. But we have to make sure that the same rules apply to Greece as to everyone else”.

Mr Coveney told RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland programme that Ireland had shown there were ways to dramatically reduce debt burdens.

“If there is anything else on offer for Greece well then Ireland is open to look at that but we will insist that any new or better deal applies to Ireland as well as Greece”.

The eurogroup’s finance ministers, including Ireland’s Michael Noonan, gather in Brussels on Wednesday for a special meeting to be attended by Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. And EU leaders meet for a scheduled summit the following day, which is also expected to be dominated by Greece.

Around 80 per cent of Greece’s outstanding debt due to official creditors, mainly other euro zone countries. So member states, including Ireland, are unlikely to back any bid for a debt writedown.