'Important milestone' in recovery

Sat, Feb 9, 2013, 00:00

MEDIA REACTION: Ireland’s deal was front-page news on the Europe edition of the International Herald Tribune. Though noting that the details of the agreement were not disclosed, the international edition of the New York Times noted that “it appeared to be another important milestone in Ireland’s slow emergence from a banking and real estate crisis that had cut living standards, caused unemployment to soar and left cities scarred by half-finished building projects”.

The piece said the deal showed “that it is possible for a member to survive the painful financial adjustments needed to recover from the crisis without leaving the currency union”.

Germany

The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine, a vocal critic of bailouts of any description, headlined its report “Ireland gets a 25-year payment deferral”.

In an opinion piece titled “Cash machine”, it said: “Ireland has won the argument over the massive costs of its bank rescue.”

The agreement with Frankfurt came after a “chaotic night sitting of Irish parliamentarians”.

“The agreement is pragmatic; nobody wants to endanger Ireland’s promising recovery over monetary policy dogma,” it wrote. However, it warned of a danger of me-too calls from other crisis countries. The central bank could not be allowed to become an ATM, it warned, “where governments help themselves if they lack the money to prop up failing banks”.

Die Welt daily suggested the ECB had “given Ireland room to breathe”. “The solution shifts the problem onto the next generation,” it said.

Several German newspapers suggested the ECB’s “taking note” of the deal suggested it was anxious not to be seen to be backing the Irish.

Switzerland

Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung said Mr Draghi’s choice of words “didn’t exactly reduce the confusion over the ECB’s role”. It added: “His additional remark, that ‘the last word hasn’t been spoken’, sounded almost like a threat”.

France

Its importance to Ireland was financial, but also symbolic, said French daily Libération of the deal. Observing that the ramifications could spread beyond Ireland, it said the deal could also be of importance “for other countries, such as Spain, that are weighed down under bank debt”.

Seeking to explore possible wider implications, the financial daily Les Échos gave prominence to the assertion by Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan that the deal did not create a precedent for other troubled euro zone countries.

Greece

Caught up in the many day-to-day problems facing Greeks, the Athens press took little notice of the Government’s decision to liquidate Anglo Irish Bank.

What did appear in the press consisted of translated copy or video reports from international wire services, primarily Reuters.

Conservative daily Kathimerini headlined its piece with “Irish–ECB agreement on the restructuring of bank debt”, while centre-left Eleftherotypia proclaimed “Ireland agrees to extension”.