Wednesday, February 27 08:09:27
Ollie Rehn said he was "surprised" at suggestions that the promissory note deal, which is worth around E1bn a year in savings to the economy, could be used to ease the conditions in future budgets.
"I have heard this has been described in some discussions as windfall gains. I'm a bit surprised by that," he said.
"In Ireland the level of public debt is high, as is the fiscal deficit and this means debt service is very high for Irish citizens.
"It's very important to stick to the fiscal targets and ensure the debt burden can be reduced in due course. A high level of depth tends to have a negative impact on growth (so that must be deal with)," he said. The Irish Independent
The owner of British Gas is running the gauntlet of public anger as it revealed a £606 million profit haul at its residential arm months after hiking customer tariffs. Centrica said an 11pc rise in profits at British Gas residential came after last year's colder-than-normal weather saw gas use leap 12pc and in spite of a 1pc fall in customer accounts to 15.7 million in 2012.
The results are likely to raise questions over the fairness of energy bill increases after British Gas raised tariffs by 6pc for around 8.4 million households at the end of last year. The Irish Independent
The Government plans special legislation to cut the pensions of the highest-paid former public servants by some 5 per cent.
Although the move is part of a general cut in all public pensions above E32,500, the greatest reductions will be imposed on senior figures who held high public office and those who led State and other public institutions.
Those affected by the measure include former taoisigh Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen, John Bruton and Albert Reynolds and many members of the previous government.
Mr Ahern and Mr Cowen will see their pensions cut to E142,655 from E150,163 under the move; Mr Reynolds's pension will drop to E141,513 from E148,961;and Mr Bruton's pension will fall to E134,728 from E141,819.
Former president Mary Robinson will see her pension reduced by just under E7,000 to E132,522 while two former comptroller and auditors general, PL McDonnell and John Purcell, will see their pensions reduced by E5,735 to E108,973.
Former tanaiste Mary Harney will see her pension reduce to E123,315 from E129,805 and the pension paid to former minister for finance Charlie McCreevy will fall to E113,218 from E119,177. The Irish Times
Brent futures held near $113 (E86.32) a barrel on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve's affirmation of its commitment to monetary stimulus renewed hopes of a revival in demand growth in the US.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's defended its bond-buying stimulus before Congress and a spike in US home sales boosted Asian shares, base metals and other riskier assets.
Yet, concerns over spending cuts in the United States and a prolonged instability in Europe as elections in Italy failed to produce a strong government kept a lid on prices.
Brent crude slipped 6 cents to $112.65 a barrel this morning, after rising to as much as $113.10.
Bernanke said Fed policymakers recognise the potential risks from their extraordinary support for the economy, including the possibility it might fuel unwanted inflation or stoke asset bubbles. But the risks did not seem material at the moment, he said, adding the central bank has all the tools it needs to retreat from its monetary support.
Markets were also buoyed by data showing US home prices closed out 2012 with the biggest annual gain in more than six years while sales of new homes spiked in January, the latest sign that the long-suffering housing market was on the mend.
A bearish target at $111.97 remains unchanged for Brent, while a bearish target at $91.15 remains unchanged for US oil, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Yet, oil, particularly the US contract, drew some support as American Petroleum Institute data showed US crude stockpiles rose less than expected. The Irish Times