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Minister Creighton discusses priorities for restoring confidence in the Eurozone

In Luxembourg this morning (Tuesday 11 October) the Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton T.D., set out Ireland’s priorities for EU action to restore confidence and stability in the Eurozone.

The Minister was participating in a meeting of the General Affairs Council which discussed plans for the upcoming European Council and Eurozone Summit (now taking place on Sunday 23 October) with European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy.

The Minister said:
“Our focus should be on restoring confidence in the Eurozone through agreeing the next tranche of financial assistance for Greece, re-assessing the capital needs of the European banking system, implementing the changes to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) agreed on 21 July and implementing the new strengthened rules on economic governance in the Eurozone. We should identify what we need to do and see how we can exploit existing policy instruments to achieve our goals”.

“We also need to look beyond the current crisis at how we can generate economic growth throughout the European Union”.

In other business, the General Affairs Council agreed to start the technical process of turning Ireland’s ‘Lisbon’ legal guarantees into a Protocol, as agreed by EU member states back in 2009. The matter will be referred to the European Council which will in turn seek the views of the European Parliament and the Commission.

The Minister welcomed the Council’s formal agreement to lower the interest rate charged by the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) to Ireland and Portugal. It is estimated that this lower rate will save the state several billion euro per year and when combined with a lower rate of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) could save up to 10 billion euro over the lifetime of the EU-IMF loans.

The Minister also met with Luxembourg Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, to discuss issues of common concern.