Bank debt decision needed for bailout exit, says Kenny
An EU decision on promissory notes and bank debt is needed for Ireland to “successfully exit” the EU/IMF bailout programme this year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today.
He was speaking at a press conference for the visit of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and his team of 26 commissioners for the Irish presidency of the Council of the EU.
Mr Barroso and the College of Commissioners met with Cabinet ministers this morning to examine the aspirations for Ireland’s EU presidency. A private meeting between Mr Barroso and Mr Kenny was held this morning as well as smaller meetings between Irish ministers and their Commission counterparts.
Mr Barroso said having Ireland at the helm at this juncture was good for Ireland and Europe. He welcomed Ireland placing stability, growth and jobs at the heart of the presidency including the proposal on a youth guarantee
He noted that the Irish people had made big sacrifices to ensure its recovery and this commitment to reform was paying off as Ireland was on track to complete its programme this year. He had made the case for solidarity with Ireland and fairness, he said.
Mr Kenny said he had told the Commission that the State intended to make “major step” in its recovery of exiting the EU/IMF bailout programme this year.
Mr Kenny said while economic indicators showed Ireland as making “steady progress in very challenging waters” it left the economy in a "fragile condition" and the Irish people have shown “exceptional patience”.
Solidarity in the EU was a "two way street".
For the State to successfully exit the programme a conclusion to negotiations on promissory notes and the banking deal to break the link between sovereign and bank debt was needed, he said.
He noted the unique situation for Ireland of having to deal with the promissory notes and the electorate having to pay for the full cost of recapitalisation. To emerge for this the State needed the conclusion and demonstation of assistance from European colleagues.
Mr Gilmore said the meetings had been “very fruitful”.
One of the issues to be advanced during the presidency was the separation of bank and sovereign debt and the banking, he said. There would be a particular focus on measures to underpin jobs and growth with an emphasis youth unemployment, he said.
Other issues during the presidency would be the single market, the digital single market and a trade agreement with the US which had enormous potential to add 2 per cent to the EU’s GDP.
Mr Barroso noted that Europe was in a better place than a year ago. The question of the “implosion” of the Euro was not there any more.
He opened his remarks in Irish with “Dia Dhuit”.
As well as meetings with Government Ministers, the commission will also attend a ceremony in City Hall to mark the European Year of Citizens.
This will coincide with a citizens’ dialogue of the year event where a wide range of citizens discuss needs, hopes and concerns for the EU.
Other events today include EU political directors meeting at Farmleigh House in Phoenix Park, Dublin to set policy objectives for the foreign affairs committee over the next six months, a meeting on gender mainstreaming of the trio presidency counterparts (Ireland, Lithuania and Greece) and later between senior officials from across the EU with national responsibilities for gender mainstreaming to be held at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin.
Members of the College of Commissioners:
José Manuel Barroso : President
Catherine Ashton: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Viviane Reding: Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
Joaquín Almunia: Competition
Siim Kallas: Transport
Neelie Kroes: Digital Agenda
Antonio Tajani: Industry and Entrepreneurship
Maroš Šefčovič: Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration
Olli Rehn: Economic and monetary affairs and the Euro
Janez Potočnik: Environment
Andris Piebalgs: Development
Michel Barnier: Internal Market and Services
Androulla Vassiliou: Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth
Algirdas Šemeta: Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud
Karel De Gucht: Trade
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn: Research, Innovation and Science
Janusz Lewandowski: Financial Programming and Budget
Maria Damanaki : Maritime affairs and fisheries
Kristalina Georgieva : International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response
Günther Oettinger :Energy
Johannes Hahn : Regional Policy
Connie Hedegaard : Climate Action
Štefan Füle : Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy
László Andor : Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Cecilia Malmström : Home Affairs
Dacian Cioloş : Agriculture and Rural Development
Tonio Borg : Health and Consumer Policy