The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said that a statement of intent from the ECB on a possible deal on Anglo promissory notes would help him with his arithmetic in advance of framing December's budget.

Officials were, however, downbeat on getting agreement on all aspects of Ireland's bank debt soon.

Speaking on arrival at a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Luxembourg, Mr Noonan accepted what he called the political timeline for a deal was March next year.

This is when the next payment of the promissory notes falls due, but he said he would welcome a statement of intent in the meantime.

"On the promissory note the political timeline is to get a new arrangement by March when the next tranche of money has to be paid, the €3 billion call which is very onerous.

"It would help me doing the budgetary arithmetic if something could be arranged or a statement of intent could be achieved before the budget," he said.

Mr Noonan said getting a deal on the promissory notes and on recapitalising other Irish banks for legacy debt were two separate areas of discussion.

The question of using the €700 billion European Stability Mechanism to directly recapitalise Irish banks for past debts remains unclear.

The government insists that the agreement reached by euro zone heads of government in June implicitly paved the way for the ESM to recapitalise Irish banks for so-called legacy debt.

At a news conference coinciding with the launch of the ESM in Luxembourg, the fund's managing director Klaus Regling said of the June statement's commitment to using the fund for bank recapitalisation: "That sentence is there. Everyone can read it."

However when asked by RTE if it also referred to legacy debt Mr Regling said; "This part has not been discussed by any European bodies."

The use of the new ESM for bank recapitalisation cannot be clarified completely until the ECB's new role of supervising euro zone banks has been established and is working effectively.

While the European Commission says the Single Supervisory Mechanism could be in place by January 1, officials admit that because of German reservations it could take considerably longer.

Irish officials admit that the technical aspects of defining the ESM's possible role relating to Irish legacy debt, and also defining what that debt actually refers to, will both take time, and that the deadline for getting a deal is therefore somewhat out of the government's hands.

There is confidence, however, that an overall deal involving both promissory notes and bank recapitalisation, could be in place before the end of March deadline.

Mr Noonan said it was unlikely the issue would be dealt with in detail at today's meeting of euro zone finance ministers.

However, he said he was encouraged that the rules setting out how the ESM will work include differential interest rates for issuing bonds to both governments and for banks.

He said that sovereigns might, for example, be charged 10 basis points, while banks could be charged 30 basis points.

"The very fact that it's there and priced seems to me it's a policy which everybody intends to implement," he said.

Mr Noonan was also asked about the IFSC Clearing Group and its role in lobbying against the proposed Financial Transaction Tax (FTT).

He said: "The financial services industry is a very important industry in Ireland and we will develop it. We will ensure that it is competitive with other financial centres around the world, and we did that in the last finance bill where 21 separate measures were taken to tweak the IFSC package. Taken in their totality they were well worthwhile."

Earlier, the European Union's financial affairs chief said he is "less pessimistic" about the future of the euro than he was earlier this year.

Olli Rehn said the EU's powers for responding to the crisis hitting the euro zone are much improved compared to two years ago.

He also welcomed the official launch today of the European Union's new bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism.

"We have enough challenges in Europe," Rehn said as he entered a meeting of finance ministers from the euro zone.

"Nobody is having any party mood but I am less pessimistic for the moment of the future prospects of the euro zone than in the spring," he added.

Read more: The ESM put simply by Europe Editor Tony Connelly