Ireland on way back to private debt markets, says Draghi
EUROPEAN CENTRAL Bank chief Mario Draghi insisted Ireland was well on its way back to private debt markets but said the vote for the fiscal treaty was not a “quid pro quo” for bank debt relief.
Two days after Germany said any new banking deal would send the wrong signal about the Irish EU-International Monetary Fund bailout, Mr Draghi said the implicit message to the Government now was to continue on its present path.
Ireland’s prospects of regaining access to private financing were stronger than last autumn, he said.
Asked yesterday whether the outcome of the referendum would strengthen the Government’s campaign to ease the burden of the bank rescue, Mr Draghi said he was glad to have been proven right in his prediction that the treaty would pass.
“I do not think there was any ground or any statement of a quid pro quo for this. I think that decisions should be taken for what they are,” he told reporters.
Mr Draghi welcomed the outcome of the referendum. “It shows that the Irish people consider fiscal consolidation and fiscal stability a basic pillar for growth and for further European integration, so it is really a testimony of their responsibility and for this they should be complimented.”
Asked about the European Commission’s anxiety about risks to the Irish bailout programme, Mr Draghi said the State has achieved “remarkable, very significant, substantial progress” in respect of fiscal consolidation and bank restructuring.
“In a sense, in that case we already see the signs: the spreads are going down for Ireland much more than any other country, so that one would not be excessively optimistic that if Ireland continues in these efforts, the return to market – market access – is not a far distant perspective,” he said. “In fact it would be much closer than we all expected nine months ago.”
Mr Draghi was speaking as Taoiseach Enda Kenny came under pressure in the Dáil to reveal what assurances, if any, he had received from German chancellor Angela Merkel about the Irish banking debt during the telephone conversation they had in the aftermath of the referendum.
During noisy exchanges, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin claimed the outcome of the conversation between the two did not appear to be positive, going on the comments by German officials since then.
Mr Kenny said that during his conversation with Dr Merkel she had commended the Irish people on their referendum decision but had pointed to a number of factors including the Greek and French elections that would have an impact on the situation over the next few weeks.
“This is a tortuous and complex process and there are no simple, quick-fix solutions. I remind Deputy Martin that named officials quoted in newspapers are not politicians,” said Mr Kenny.