Eurozone and EU finance ministers are gathering in Milan for a two-day informal meeting
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is in Milan for a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers at which he will canvass support for the Government’s bid to repay up to €18bn in IMF loans early so as to avail of significant interest rate savings.
The Government needs the agreement of all 27 EU member states to waive a legal obligation that all the loans that make up Ireland’s bailout be paid on time.
Mr Noonan has been on a tour of persuasion this week to convince EU institutions that the State should replace up to €18bn in IMF loans with money borrowed from the international markets.
Because the IMF interest rate, at 5%, is much more punitive than the current market rates of less than 2%, the State could save up to €400m per year.
So far the signals from the European Commission and the EU’s permanent bailout fund, the ESM, have been positive.
But Mr Noonan must now do the political persuasion, since all 27 EU capitals are required give their consent.
Eurozone and EU finance ministers are gathering in Milan for a two-day informal meeting under the Italian presidency.
They will discuss the Irish plan as well as current concerns over the Eurozone economy, and plans by the ECB to buy up so-called asset backed securities off bank balance sheets, so that banks might start lending again.