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No accord on budget target as talks go on

The lack of consensus on the fiscal target at the EMC

Coalition leaders are set to resume deliberations over next month’s budget later this week after inconclusive talks yesterday at the Economic Management Council, the Cabinet committee that sets the thrust of fiscal policy.

The lack of consensus on the fiscal target at the EMC – comprising Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin – meant there was no substantive discussion on the budget when the Cabinet met afterwards. In spite of unresolved differences between Fine Gael and Labour over the fiscal plan, a renewed push to conclude a deal before the weekend is likely.

Data deficit With the Coalition partners still at odds over the target, further complication surrounds the fact the budget day – October 15th – is almost two months earlier than usual.

This means the plan is being cast in the absence of data normally available, prompting delays in “number-crunching”. For the first time yesterday, however, Mr Noonan publicly acknowledged a measure of flexibility to ease the €3.1 billion retrenchment target set out in Ireland’s troika deal. Although there are suggestions the Fine Gael flank might yet accept a target of €2.8 billion or close to it, this remains higher than the €2.5 billion which has been in Labour’s sights for weeks.

Source: The Irish Times

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