by Frank Schnittger
Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 12:24:19 PM EST
Michael Noonan, Irish Finance Minister, is famous for his sometimes impolitic remarks. Here he is in a Bloomberg interview making the case that Europe owes Ireland for "taking one for the team" when the Irish banking bailout saved the European banking system from the contagion that an Irish banking collapse might have precipitated. It is a view widely held in Ireland, though perhaps more in hope than in expectation. Some think that the ECB "holding its nose" whilst the Irish Government restructured Anglo-Irish bank debts was the first installment of some payback by the EU. Germany's Jens Weidmann criticised the restructuring as bordering on monetary financing but did not actually block the deal when he had the chance.
The more general case Noonan is making - as one would expect from a Finance Minister - is that the Irish bailout is working, modest growth has returned, bond yields are coming down, and that Ireland should be able to exit the bailout and return to the sovereign debt markets on schedule next year. I would welcome the views of ET members as to whether this is a realistic or desirable prospect, or whether he is living in cloud cuckoo land.