Greek deal 'not applicable' to Ireland
Any arrangements made to ease the burden of the Greek national debt will not be applicable to Ireland, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said today.
Arriving in Brussels this afternoon for a third round of talks in as many weeks between euro zone ministers and the International Monetary Fund, Mr Noonan said he was hopeful that a deal for Greece is imminent.
“I’d be hoping that it will conclude satisfactorily this evening but you know the way these things work, you can’t be absolutely certain. But certainly the ground has narrowed,” the Minister told reporters.
Mr Noonan said there was no plan at present for an official sector involvement arrangement the sense that it’s normally accepted” in which euro zone governments would bear losses on their holdings of Greek bonds
It is generally expected that the new package would cut to a negligible level the interest rate on the country’s loans from its euro zone partners.
The package is also expected to include money for Athens to reduce its debt burden by buying its bonds from private investors at below market costs.
Asked whether similar flexibility would be granted to Ireland, Mr Noonan said that was not the case.
“The package that’s being discussed wouldn’t be applicable to Ireland. This is a special and particular case. There isn’t a crossover into Ireland’s affairs,” he said.
When it was put to him that any deal might eliminate the interest rate on Greek loans, Mr Noonan said Greece was being dealt with separately. “We have own sets of negotiations either in place or will proceed next year so there isn’t a crossover.”
He said the European ministers spoke on a conference call two days ago to establish a unified position and added that the objective now was find common ground with the IMF.
“We had a teleconference on Saturday among the euro group, progress was made so I would hope that later this evening the matter will be resolved.”
Europe and the IMF have been at odds for weeks, as the IMF presses governments to bear losses on their holdings of Greek bonds to bring the country’s national debt to a sustainable level.
“There’s a variety of issues but basically it comes down to the ways and means to accommodate the Greek position but there’s a willingness to do so. It’s working out the detail now.”