Thursday, 5 July 2012

Questions (51)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

44 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the extent of his discussions with his EU counterparts with particular reference to addressing the ongoing fiscal and economic issues affecting the eurozone; if he has managed to achieve an understanding to the effect that this country and its people are courageously committed to economic recovery and stability; if it is expected that recognition of this position might manifest itself in any particular way which might be beneficial to the economy and the general public here and as a consequence to economic revival in Europe in general; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32810/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I regularly meet with my EU and euro area counterparts to discuss fiscal, banking and economic issues affecting both the EU and the euro area. These typically take the format of scheduled monthly meetings of the ECOFIN Council and the Eurogroup. In addition, I participate in teleconferences of Finance Ministers when important issues arise that require immediate discussion. In relation to the efforts of the Irish people, I can assure the Deputy that there is a broad recognition that Ireland has taken strong ownership of its economic adjustment programme, with programme implementation being very good.

The Deputy will be aware that Heads of State or Government of the euro area have decided that once an effective supervisory mechanism is established, the ESM could have the possibility to recapitalise euro area banks directly. This is a very positive development from an Irish perspective, offering the possibility of reducing the amount of bank debt that is currently counted as part of sovereign debt. I think it is fair to say that strong and consistent programme implementation was probably a factor in the decision of HoSG to explicitly refer to Ireland in the statement following the meeting.