ECB’s Trichet confident of euro zone stability

European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet told MEPs yesterday that he did not doubt the stability of the euro zone. Asked if he feared a domino effect in light of the debt crisis, he said that this would not happen, adding that Ireland and Greece were both solvent and therefore debt restructuring was not an issue. Trichet was also adamant that domestic democratic processes should not be interfered with, even in the event of a bailout. Asked by Belgian MEP Dirk-Jan Eppink if there is a link between political uncertainty and the financial markets, Trichet refused to draw any conclusions, stating again that democratic processes should be respected. At the…

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EC forecasts Irish growth at just 0.9pc

The European Commission has said the Irish economy will grow by just 0.9pc next year. According to its autumn economic forecast, the EC believes the Irish economy will not reach the 1.75pc rate predicted by the Irish Government in its four year plan. The Commission also said the Government’s 2012 growth projection of 3.25pc is too optimistic. It says 2012 growth is more likely to be 1.9pc. Overall, the EC said European growth will experience soft growth next year and a stronger rebound in 2012. It said growth in 2011 will hit 1.75pc and 2pc in 2012. The recovery is “making progress,” though the “shock of the global crisis still…

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Europe denies there are Portugal bailout plans

European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso has denied reports that euro area member states are putting pressure on Portugal to ask for external financial aid. Speaking in Paris today, Barroso said there was no talk of a Portugal bailout and no application had been made. “I can tell you that it’s absolutely false, completely false,” commenting on a report in the Financial Times Deutschland today. The FT Deutschland said some euro area states want Portugal to follow Ireland’s lead and apply for external aid to ensure no further contagion is experienced. “If Portugal were to use the fund, it would be good for Spain, because the country is heavily exposed to…

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Student registration up €500 per year

Minister for Education Mary Coughlan said the Government had protected Education as much as it could

As part of its National Recovery Plan the Government has increased the student registration fee from €1,500 to €2,000. This 33pc increase in the student contribution to the cost of third level education comes after numerous student protests against the introduction of further charges. However, the increase is less than expected. The figure of €3,000 had been touted in the media. Other measures Seventy percent of programme expenditures outside of Social Protection are on Health and Education Spending, outlined the plan. Other education changes see a 5pc reduction in a range of supports including grants for adult literacy, community education and school completion programmes. PLC students will not be charged…

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Irish situation highlights need for strong regulation – EC

EU Commissioners Olli Rehn and Michel Barnier have said the Irish situation has stressed the need for “bold steps” to be taken for tight economic co-ordination and strong EU-level regulation. Speaking to the European Parliament’s economics committee last night, Barnier said, “The Irish situation shows us that we can only be stronger together.  We have to continue moving ahead with financial regulation.” “Without rapid and real progress to reach true European economic governance we will spend the rest of this Parliament’s legislature discussing recurrent fiscal and sovereign debt crises around the EU,” added Rehn. Discussing the Irish problems, Rehn said that the government had tools at its disposal to combat…

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Ireland’s trade surplus widens

Billy Kelleher

Ireland’s trade surplus in September was €4.2bn as exports increase by 2pc in the month. According to official figures from the Central Statistics Office, Ireland’s exports rose 2pc in the month and 4pc in the year, when compared with September 2009. At the same time, imports increased by 1pc, resulting in a trade surplus of €4.2bn. Exports for the eight months between January and August increased by 2pc to €58.2bn when compared to the same period in the previous year. The most notable increases occurred in the exports of metal ores and scrap metal, which increased by a massive 89pc. Exports to the US, Belgium and Great Britain account for…

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UK will help Ireland through debt crisis says Chancellor

George Osborne

The UK’s chancellor George Osborne has vowed to help Ireland restore stability to its finances. Speaking ahead of the Ecofin meeting in Brussels today, Osborne pledged Britain’s support to Ireland in its efforts to fix its ailing banking system. He said helping its closest neighbour was in his country’s national interest. “Ireland is our closest neighbour and it’s in Britain’s national interest that the Irish economy is successful and we have a stable banking system. So Britain stands ready to support Ireland in the steps that it needs to take to bring about that stability,” he told reporters today. Irish Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said he was aware that…

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President says EU in survival crisis

Herman Van Rompuy

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy said today that the eurozone is in a “survival crisis” but is confident the EU will overcome its debt issues. He said EU members must work together to get through the crisis. He added that national interests could not come ahead of European interests. “We all have to work together to survive, with the eurozone, because if we don’t survive with the eurozone, we will not survive with the European Union,” said Van Rompuy. The president’s comments come before the euro zone’s 16 finance ministers (Ecofin) meet this evening in Brussels where Ireland remains under pressure to accept funding support from the EU. Much…

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Problems are with the Irish banks, not Government – Rehn

Speaking ahead of today’s vital meeting of Ecofin, the eurozone’s 16 finance ministers, Olli Rehn has said that Ireland is working with the EU, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank to solve the country’s banking crisis. He said although the two were connected the “real problems are in the banking sector” and not with the Irish government. The EU commissioner added, “We have a very strong focus on the banking sector.” Earlier today, EU Council President Herman Von Rompuy said all EU countries needed to work together and not put national interests first. Many interpreted this as further pressure on Ireland to accept a bailout from…

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Banks should be allowed fold says ECB’s Weber

Axel Weber, policy maker at the European Central Bank said that banks should be allowed fold in order to avoid complacency and ‘moral hazard’ among bankers. Speaking at the opening of Euro Finance Week, he said, “The relevant instrument in this context is a restructuring mechanism that allows for a wind-down of systemically-relevant banks without overburdening markets.” During his speech, Weber also supported the idea of issuing special bonds which would convert to equity in the event of a crisis. He said these were one option for large banks that play a role in global finance. Calling for a more stable banking system, the German banker stressed the need for…

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