Kenny says 2014 Budget may be delivered early

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Enda Kenny says 2014 Budget may be delivered to Dáil a little earlier

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that the 2014 Budget may be delivered to the Dáil a little earlier this year.

Mr Kenny said the budget was fixed for 2014, but could be delivered earlier because of decisions that the European Parliament and European Council have to take in respect of what they call the European Semester.

The Taoiseach was speaking in response to questions on expectations of the Labour Party for a Budget dividend arising from the promissory note deal.

He added that while the Budget was fixed, the Government would still consider all of the economic conditions before it would be delivered to the Dáil.

Earlier, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said there will be no Budget rowbacks following the savings from the promissory note deal.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, the minister said there was a strong argument for increasing the amount of funding for capital projects, but she would not unpick previous Budgets.

She said: "We're not going to unpick previous Budgets at this point in time. Remember, what the promissory note deal has done for us, and I argued for this even before the General Election, is given us room for extra flexibility."

Ms Burton said the deal on Anglo Irish Bank debt should be used to stimulate the economy.

"We've really negotiated a very good, very promising deal. We have some extra flexibility, the flexibility is not enormous, but let's use that flexibility to get people back to work," she said.

"We have an extraordinarily attractive environment for people setting up a business, whether from Ireland or whether from abroad. We see that in the eBay announcement and we see that in other announcements.

"What we have not got is the link in to the number of people on the live register right around this country, who are only dying to get back to work."

Elsewhere, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said the ECB will examine the Irish swap further.

His comments came after the German governing council member and Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann said Ireland's promissory note transaction comes dangerously close to contravening a ban on the monetary financing of governments.

He said the ECB will re-examine the issue and "has to make sure that its actions are in conformity with its rules and statutes".

Speaking this morning in Moscow, the central bank chief also said that the nominal and real euro exchange rates are around long-term averages, and all talk of foreign exchange wars is "inappropriate, fruitless and self-defeating".

Ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 finance officials, Mr Draghi declined, in line with policy, to say whether the euro's exchange rate was appropriate, but noted it was in line with long-term averages in nominal and real terms.

He also declined to pre-empt a debate on the wording of a G20 communiqué on currencies and borrowing by governments, but made it clear that he favoured structural reforms as a path to growth rather than ramping up state borrowing.

"We don't believe that inflating budget deficits to create demand is sustainable," Mr Draghi told a news conference after talks with Russian central bank officials.

Also speaking in Moscow, the EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said that the G20 should focus on structural reforms rather than on short-term fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Mr Rehn did not name any G20 countries, but his remarks appeared to refer to policies in Japan and the US.

"The G20 should focus more on reforms than on short-term fiscal and monetary stimulus," he said.

Central banks in Japan and the US have policies of buying government bonds to boost credit to the economy, and Japan's government also wants to additionally stimulate the economy fiscally.

Such policies have led to a weakening of the dollar and the yen, making exports of these countries more competitive, in what some policymakers refer to as "currency wars".

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