Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny
Photo by: Thierry Charlier/AP
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will shun major job opportunities with the European Union in favor of another term in office.
The Fine Gael leader has dismissed speculation linking him with a top EU job after leading Ireland out of the bail-out.
Instead he wants another five years in office when the Irish people next vote in a general election.
He told journalists at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that he is focused ‘fixing’ the Irish economy which he admitted remains ‘fragile’.
The Irish Independent reports that Kenny also said he is determined to get EU help with the legacy of bank debt as he dismissed rumors linking him to vacancies as head of the EU Commission and the EU Council.
Kenny said: “The mandate given to me was to take our country out of an unholy economic mess that we had inherited and sort out our public finances and get our country working.
“I’m very happy that our people have moved to a point where we had a clear plan and strategy to exit the bailout. We now have a strategy to follow through on that with the publication of a medium-term economic strategy.
“That’s my mandate. That’s the trust the people placed in us, that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Speaking to Bloomberg’s television channel, Kenny did concede that Irish banks have a real issue with distressed mortgage holders and need restart lending.
But he also claimed that Irish banks are healthy enough to pass upcoming EU stress tests.
He added that his Government would continue to seek help with $40billion bank debts through the EU leaders’ summits and finance ministers’ meetings.
Kenny said the US had the political and economic structures for a swifter response to its bank crisis while the EU had to debate many issues but is poised to deal with its banking problems reasonably soon.
The Irish PM also revealed his belief that Ireland will remain in the EU even if Britain opts out in a referendum expected before 2017.
He added: “Irrespective of whatever decision Britain makes, we have our trading arrangements with Britain.”