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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

EU economics chief arrives for two-day budget talks

Olli Rehn will meet with the Minister for Finance today to discuss the upcoming budget.

EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Olli Rehn.
EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Olli Rehn.

THE EU ECONOMICS Commissioner Olli Rehn arrives in Dublin today for two days of budget talks with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and Opposition spokespersons.

Rehn is due to meet with Lenihan to discuss the €15bn four-year plan, which is expected to be published on 7 December. Discussions will centre on the plans for December’s Budget – which will include €6bn in spending cuts and taxes - as well as the overall plan to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent by 2014.

Rehn is due to meet with Opposition, social partners and the Central Bank tomorrow.

The commissioner’s visit comes as Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny yesterday ruled out supporting the Budget if the government faced trouble over passing it next month.

Ministers are said to be backing away from proposals to cut the state pension, fearing an angry backlash from older voters.

Olli Rehn’s support for the four-year budget is vital: Ireland’s deficit is the highest in the eurozone and the country saw 10-year borrowing rise to 7.7% on Friday, meaning it faces a serious challenge in selling bonds next year.

Rehn has previously described the €6bn target for next year’s budget as “appropriate”.

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