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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images Michael Noonan

Noonan in Brussels for summit of EU finance ministers

The Minister for Finance heads to the Belgian capital today but is not expected to make any significant progress on the terms of Ireland’s bailout package as Greece, Strauss-Kahn and Portugal dominate the agenda.

THE MINISTER FOR Finance will be in Brussels today as a two-day summit of EU finance ministers begins amid the rape allegations surrounding the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Michael Noonan will not be expecting to make any significant breakthrough on the terms of Ireland’s EU-IMF rescue package in the Belgian capital.

Speculation has been rife in recent weeks that the country is due for a one per cent reduction on its average interest rate.

RTÉ reports that it is unlikely that Noonan will have any formal or informal bilateral meetings with any of his finance counterparts on the terms of Ireland’s bailout although the country’s financial affairs are on the agenda for discussion on Tuesday.

Top of the agenda today will be the issues with Greece’s bailout as it struggles to meet the terms of its loan deal amid rumours that it could be set to receive further bailout funds.

Discussions will focus on how to avoid a Greek default and if indeed it can be avoided.

This comes ahead of the report from the so-called troika of the European Union (EU), IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) on the progress of Greece’s financial affairs which is due next month.

The meeting will also expected to be dominated by the repercussions of the arrest of IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn who faces a court appearance in New York later today on charges of the attempted rape of a hotel chamber maid.

The two-day summit is also expected to formally agree on the €78 billion bailout package for Portugal which was agreed by the IMF recently.