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Finance Minister contacts Rehn over leak

Finance Minster contacts Rehn over leak

Finance Minster contacts Rehn over leak

The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has written to European Commissioner Olli Rehn requesting that he review the European Commission's practices and procedures to ensure confidentiality in the future.

Yesterday various media quoted the Commission as saying in documents given to German politicians that the Irish Government may need more “fiscal tightening”.

Earlier today the Commission said it was “deeply concerned about the apparent leaking” of its most recent staff report on Ireland's progress under the financial assistance programme.

Speaking on arrival for a meeting with other EU finance ministers in Brussels, Minister Noonan said that all the authorities had agreed that Ireland will reach its 8.6pc target, therefore the extra “fiscal tightening” was not an issue.

Earlier today also the Commission approved €5.8bn in funding for Ireland following the latest review of the EU/IMF programme carried out in January.

The Commission's report published today, while mainly upbeat about how Ireland is performing, warned that improving market sentiment towards the country is still fragile while there are threats to forecast growth and bank deleveraging which “could require further fiscal tightening later in the year”.

It said Irish GDP is estimated to have returned to positive growth of 0.9pc last year, aided by strong exports, but it has lowered its growth forecast for 2012 to 0.5pc due to a slowdown in growth in Ireland's main trading partners.

Karina Corbett