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"I'd like to thank my agent..." Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Michael Noonan is officially better than he was one year ago*

*At least, according to the Financial Times which has produced its annual ranking of the EU’s finance ministers.

IT’S OFFICIAL: MICHAEL Noonan is a better Minister for Finance than he was one year ago – at least, when compared to eighteen other EU finance ministers.

Noonan has been ranked a respectable fifth in the Financial Times yearly list of the EU’s finance ministers – moving up five places from last year when he was ranked in tenth position. Just two years ago Ireland was ranked at the bottom of the pile in the annual list.

The ministers were ranked by political ability, economic performance, and credibility in the markets by seven leading European economists.

The Financial Times noted that although the Irish economy is still far from fully recovered, Noonan has ensured “scrupulous adherence” to the troika’s bailout plan, boosting the chances of winning concessions from creditors which could help to ease Ireland’s financial pain.

Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble topped the list with judges praising his ability to articulate a vision for a more integrated Europe. Sweden’s Anders Borg was ranked in second place after topping the list last year while Italy’s finance minister Vittorio Grilli jumped ten places in this year’s poll after languishing at 18th in 2011.

The Financial Times noted that the challenges facing the EU’s nineteen largest economies in 2012 “were as tough as at any time since the eurozone debt crisis hit in late 2009″.

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