Schaeuble 100% confident Ireland will not need second bailout

Tuesday 30 October 2012 11.22
Wolfgang Schaeuble (l) met with Michael Noonan (centre) and Brendan Howlin (r)
Wolfgang Schaeuble (l) met with Michael Noonan (centre) and Brendan Howlin (r)

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has said he is 100% confident that Ireland will not require a second bailout.

Mr Schaeuble also said he is very impressed with Ireland's progress on fighting the debt crisis.

He made his comments after meeting Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin.

Mr Schaeuble said that Irish success on fighting the crisis is important not just to Ireland but to the eurozone as a whole.

He said that when Germany has to explain to groups such as the IMF about what is going on in Europe, they point to the successes the Irish economy has achieved since its bailout.

Mr Schaeuble said he will continue to be supportive of Ireland's bailout programme.

But he suggested there could be no reworking of bank debt until 2014, when a European Bank supervisor is in place.

He said the ESM could not be used until there was a Europe-wide bank supervisor in place, and he said that would not happen until 2014.

Mr Noonan said it would be the second half of 2013.

He said the more pressing short-term issue is a reworking of the promissory note arrangement to fund the losses at Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

Mr Schaeuble said he would not comment on the promissory note issue as it was strictly a matter between Ireland and the European Central Bank, and that he respected the independence of the ECB.

Schaeuble, Noonan and Howlin hold private talks for 40 minutes

The three ministers held private talks for about 40 minutes, before they were joined by officials from the Irish and German finance ministries.

The meeting started later than planned because of the late arrival of the German delegation due to fog at Casement Airbase in Baldonnel, which delayed their landing.

The meeting was held in Farmleigh because the Dublin City Marathon's starting and finishing points were on Merrion Square, which is close to the Department of Finance.

Roads around the area were closed to traffic due to the marathon.

Speaking at today's press conference, Mr Noonan said the three ministers had a successful meeting on European matters and matters of concern to Ireland.

He said that everything was "in the context of Ireland taking over the EU presidency in January".

Mr Noonan said Mr Schäuble has been "helpful and supportive" in Ireland processing the bailout programme and helping to get back to the markets at reasonable interest rates.

Mr Howlin described the meeting as "useful".

"I think we have a very good understanding of each other's positions. We have put jobs and growth at the centre of our priorities, and are dovetailing with the objectives Mr Schaeuble has," he added.

Mr Schaeuble told the conference that it is "very important that we all work together on the crisis".

He said that markets are still lacking in confidence "because Europe is a bit too complex".

"Our way of making decisions and communicating them is always a bit difficult for people abroad, so it's important we go step-by-step to improve this," he said.

On the bank debt deal, Mr Schaeuble said that the German officials "study Irish papers carefully".

He said there had been some misunderstanding, and the joint statement by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear there has been a misunderstanding.

He said the eurozone continues to work to deliver the preconditions of a European banking solution. But quoting ECB President Mario Draghi, he said this will not be possible before 2014, and there are always problems.

"We know the specific situation of Ireland. It is a specific case, but we agree we have to avoid making any announcement that could imply that the programme for Ireland is not working because it is working and working well," Mr Schaeuble stated.

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