Noonan hopes for 'significant' bank debt deal by October

Tuesday 10 July 2012 23.57
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Michael Noonan declined to say how much bank debt he hoped to be able to renegotiate
Michael Noonan declined to say how much bank debt he hoped to be able to renegotiate
Finance ministers reached agreement after nine hours of talks in Brussels
Finance ministers reached agreement after nine hours of talks in Brussels

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said he hopes significant progress can be made in reducing Ireland's bank debt burden during negotiations with the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

He said he was pleased with the decision of eurozone finance ministers to agree both a process and timeframe for the debt renegotiation talks.

Minister Noonan once again declined to say how much bank debt he hoped to be able to renegotiate, but repeated that the government would be ambitious in their aim.

Mr Noonan said that the troika talks, which resumed in Dublin today, include both the Anglo-Irish Bank promissory notes and bank recapitalisation.

He described the target date for concluding negotiations - in October - as satisfactory.

The deadline was announced by the European Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn after more than nine hours of discussions in Brussels overnight.

Mr Rehn said the Commission would undertake the technical work over the coming weeks, along with the ECB and IMF, as part of the review process of the Irish bailout.

Earlier Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore said a lot of negotiation is to take place between now and October to maximise the benefits for the Irish people in any deal that may be struck on Ireland's debts.

Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton has said that negotiations on the restructuring of Ireland's bank debt will be tough.

However, Ms Creighton said the Government has proven that it is well able for tough talking.

Speaking on Today with Pat Kenny Minister Creighton said technical work is now under way and every effort will be made to ensure the best deal possible for the Irish people.

"We will certainly be ensuring that we get the best possible deal for the Irish people.

"It is too early to say how that will be constituted, what form the deal will take but that technical work is well underway now and I'm very optimistic that we will make significant progress on it in the Autumn."

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has said the Cabinet expects a full briefing from Mr Noonan at some stage today.

Arriving for a Cabinet meeting this morning, Mr Quinn said: "From the very beginning of this Government we have consistently tried to renegotiate the disastrous deal struck by the previous government.

"Our position hasn't changed, there are ongoing negotiations. We are making slow but steady progress."

Spanish bank debt

As expected, the meeting was dominated by the issue of agreeing on a plan about how to recapitalise Spainish banks.

Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said a political understanding had been reached on a memorandum.

Mr Juncker said it should be finalised by 20 July when eurozone finance ministers will either meet again or hold a conference call.

He added that €30bn worth of bailout funds would be made available before the end of the month should it be required by Spanish banks in emergency circumstances.

Speaking after the meeting, Dutch Finance Minister Jan Keys de Jager described the talks as intensive, but he added that his colleagues had arrived at "the right conclusions".

Elsewhere, Germany's top court will today address whether Europe's new bailout scheme and budget rules are compatible with German law.

The German Constitutional Court's verdict could affect the implementation of the ESM and whether Europe will get the extra firepower it needs to combat the financial crisis.

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