Ireland wants 15-year extension of EU loans - minister

BRUSSELS Mon Mar 4, 2013 1:57pm GMT

Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan presents the budget to waiting media at the Government Buildings in Dublin December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan presents the budget to waiting media at the Government Buildings in Dublin December 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Ireland wants the European Union to extend the maturity of emergency loans by an average of 15 years to smooth Dublin's return to financial markets but is aware it may not get that long, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said.

"Our lowest maturities are 5 years and they extend out to the high twenties, so what we are asking is an extension of 15 years on average, but we will see how it goes," Noonan told reporters ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers.

"I don't think there is a disposition to extend that long," he added.

The ministers will discuss the extension of the maturity of loans to Ireland and Portugal, but Noonan said he expected no decisions yet.

"There will be a discussion of both, there is no expectation of an offer being made to Ireland at this stage," he said.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski)

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