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Press Association

French finance minister hails 'good' meeting as Noonan seeks bailout interest reduction

Discussions between EU finance leaders are entering their second day in Hungary.

THE FRENCH FINANCE Minister has said she had a “good discussion” with Minister for Finance Michael Noonan as EU leaders met in Budapest yesterday and continue their discussions today.

RTÉ reports that Christine Lagarde was speaking as the talks entered their second day in Hungary:

We had a good discussion about the general taxation landscape and we agreed that we should be discussing that further, and there is willingness on both sides to discuss (the issue further).

Noonan is also said to have spoken with German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on the fringes of a meeting that has been dominated by discussions over a bailout package for Portugal.

It is speculated today in the Irish Independent that a discount of 1 per cent on the interest Ireland pays on its bailout is on the cards following the discussions.

Such a deal would be finalised after Portugal’s own bailout package is agreed which is likely to be before the country’s elections in June.

The Irish Times reports Noonan as saying that there is no “tight deadline” to strike a deal as he reaffirmed the government’s commitment to maintaining its low corporation tax rate.

France has previously voiced its opposition to Ireland maintaining its low corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent.

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