Catherine Day says conditions do not favour bailout concessions

Europe’s top civil servant says attitudes of wealthy countries have hardened, but sees no reason to give up on easing the cost of the bailout

 Catherine Day, secretary general of the European Commission: “It’s like a lot in life. Timing is everything. “Conor McCabe Photography.

Catherine Day, secretary general of the European Commission: “It’s like a lot in life. Timing is everything. “Conor McCabe Photography.

Sat, Mar 29, 2014, 01:00

Europe’s top civil servant has said political conditions do not favour a swift renewal of the Government’s stalled campaign to “cash in” a pledge by EU leaders to ease the cost of the €64 billion bank bailout.

Although the promise remains unfulfilled since June 2012, Irish woman Catherine Day sees no reason to give up.

But Ms Day, secretary general of the European Commission, said attitudes in wealthy “triple-A” countries like Germany and the Netherlands have hardened. They resist European compensation for historic Irish bank losses and she said it was “impossible to answer” whether a deal was feasible.


Serious body
Still, the pledge was made by a serious body which weighs its decisions. “It’s like a lot in life, the timing is everything,” she told The Irish Times.

“I don’t think now is the time to come back immediately and push it because I think there are still things being put in place which, if they are in place, might make it easier.”

She said progress is needed to bed down tougher EU oversight of national budgets and a pan-European banking system.

“We need to reassure the triple-A countries that we really have a process that works, that all countries are wholeheartedly in it. Then we will see. But I can’t speculate.”

She said talk that Taoiseach Enda Kenny might be a candidate this year to succeed European Council president Herman Van Rompuy was very flattering.

“I think on lots of levels you could see why. He’s a member of the EPP [European Peoples’ Party] . He would be a very good bridge between the UK and the rest of the member states. He’s had a very successful exit from a programme, that determination and all of that. So it’s very flattering, but I can’t comment beyond that.”