Taoiseach encouraged to argue for debt relief
European Parliament president Martin Schulz has urged Taoiseach Enda Kenny to make an assertive case for Irish debt relief this morning at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
Mr Kenny holds bilateral meetings and speaks at two events today at which he will outline progress with the EU-ECB-IMF programme while flagging the unresolved debt issue and its implications for Ireland’s return to financial markets.
Joined by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, Mr Kenny will open European financial markets from Davos tomorrow morning at 8am Irish time, in a ceremony broadcast on CNBC.
After a bleak crisis atmosphere last year, the mood has lightened somewhat at this 43rd forum in the Swiss ski resort. Bankers in attendance said they were more optimistic about global growth prospects, particularly in the US and China, and were ready to give European leaders the benefit of the doubt on reforms.
Mr Schulz said Ireland should ignore mixed signals from European capitals on legacy debt, saying it should “not decide its fate by thinking about what pleases Berlin”.
“Ireland should think how can we find a fair deal between our European partners and Ireland,” he said. “My appeal to European partners is to stick to what they promised to Ireland after the Irish, by taking the banking burden on their shoulders, saved the banking system in Europe.”
Other speakers today include German chancellor Angela Merkel and British prime minister David Cameron.
Delegates – and financial markets – will be listening extra closely to ECB president Mario Draghi’s address. Yesterday, the man who almost became ECB president, Axel Weber, said he “hadn’t changed” his views on the controversial policy that prompted his Bundesbank departure – ECB bond-buying to stabilise crisis-hit euro economies.
“We’re trying to solve the crisis with more leveraging, we’re having a better life at the expense of future generations,” said Prof Weber.
A year after bankers berated officials and politicians at the WEF for a go-slow on reform, the tables were turned yesterday.
Deputy director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Zhu Min said banks remained allergic to transparency and were overly fond of complicated products. His boss, IMF chief executive Christine Lagarde, agreed that too little reform had happened in the industry that had sparked the economic crisis.