Noonan to meet Draghi for talks on Ireland’s bailout exit

Minister expected to explore precautionary credit line option with ECB chief

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will meet with ECB chief Mario Draghi in Frankfurt later today. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will meet with ECB chief Mario Draghi in Frankfurt later today. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times

Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 14:30

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is to meet European Central Bank president Mario Draghi today to discuss Ireland’s imminent exit of the EU-IMF bailout programme.

Mr Noonan is expected to explore the possibility of securing a credit buffer from the troika to ease country’s return to the capital markets.

The Government’s adherence to the terms of its bailout and the fall in Irish bond yields place the country in a strong position to exit the programme.

However, there is a belief that Ireland may need some form of assistance to execute the transition smoothly.

The issue is expected to dominate discussions between Mr Noonan and Mr Draghi in Frankfurt later this afternoon. Mr Noonan is also due to meet with IMF officials later in the day.

The EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said yesterday the decision about the amount of help Ireland will need is “ultimately” one for the country itself.

He was speaking after a meeting with Mr Noonan at the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday.

Mr Noonan briefed Mr Rehn on the adjustment programme and issues related to the forthcoming programme exit.

Mr Noonan explained the recent budget and in particular Ireland’s plans to reduce the deficit below to 4.8 per cent in 2014, within the 5.1 per cent EDP target. He also said Ireland planned to deliver a primary balance or small surplus in 2014.

In a short statement after the meeting, Mr Rehn acknowledged “the significant progress that Ireland has made over the course of the adjustment programme and that Ireland is now in a strong position to exit the programme this year”.

He said: “Ultimately, the final decision on post-programme options is one for the Irish authorities.”