Merkel says Ireland programme change not on agenda at the moment

Monday 17 September 2012 20.06
Angela Merkel said that talks were ongoing but that no changes to the Irish bailout programme were on the agenda at the moment
Angela Merkel said that talks were ongoing but that no changes to the Irish bailout programme were on the agenda at the moment

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today that no changes to the Irish bailout programme are on the agenda at the moment.

Ms Merkel was speaking to reporters in Berlin and said that the Irish programme was working "very successfully".

"I know the Irish demands," she said.

"I'm especially delighted that Ireland is working very successfully with the programme that Ireland has realised significant structural reforms."

Ms Merkel said that Ireland "is on a quite positive path, as you might have seen when bonds have been sold".

She added: "That's why I wish Ireland much success in the future. More I can't tell you today."

Ms Merkel also made reference to Greece, saying that her "heart bleeds" for Greeks facing hardship and while she wants Greece to remain in the euro zone that the country must meet the agreed targets.

She underlined her desire to keep Greece in the euro zone.

But she has not offered Greece any new concessions, insisting that it must carry through the reforms it has pledged.

The German Chancellor made her comments during her annual press conference to correspondents in Berlin.

Ms Merkel dodged questions as to whether Greece might be given more time to implement unpopular cost-cutting plans and structural reforms.

She pointed to a report from Greece's international debt inspectors that is expected next month as the basis for decisions.

Ms Merkel said Germany is ready to help Greece and wants it to succeed, but it is important that "these reforms, some of them difficult, be carried through".

She said it was helpful to resist measures that need carrying out anyway.

The German Chancellor also said politicians had no business deciding how much debt the European Central Bank should buy on the secondary market as part of its plans to tackle the euro zone crisis.

"It is not for us (politicians) to set the limits (of ECB interventions). That is the domain of the ECB," she told the news conference.

She said Germany's contribution to the euro zone's permanent new bailout fund, the ESM, totalling €190 billion, was not linked to the bond-buying programme.

This contradicted comments by a senior lawmaker from her ruling centre-right coalition suggesting that debt bought by the ECB was part of the total.

Ms Merkel also said it was unlikely that a planned new pan-European bank supervisory body could be created by January 2013, adding that direct ESM aid to euro zone banks could only come after the new body was functioning.