DUBLIN, April 12 (Reuters) - Austria vowed on Friday to stick to its bank secrecy laws, defying pressure from Germany to follow Luxembourg in agreeing to reveal information on EU depositors as finance ministers gathered in Dublin for a two-day meeting.
Following are comments from ministers ahead of their talks.
AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER MARIA FEKTER
"Austria is sticking to bank secrecy. We fight tax evasion and money laundering. I don't expect any uncomfortable questions.
"Great Britain has many money laundering centres and tax havens in its immediate legal remit - the Channel Islands Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands. These are all hot spots for tax evasion and money laundering.
"Automatic exchange of information involves a massive interference in people's privacy rights. Here the state sniffs around deep into the private affairs of account holders."
FEKTER (ON CYPRUS)
"The debt sustainability is for us significant but also for the IMF.
"For the International Monetary Fund, it must be, for regulatory reasons, a structure where it's foreseeable that Cyprus gets back on its feet. We can't accept a bottomless pit, where help is offered forever, and neither will the IMF.
"When the numbers don't add up, there will probably not be approval from national parliaments."
EU MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN
"There is an ongoing assessment of the economic situation of Cyprus and we are working together with both the ECB and the IMF to provide an economic projection about growth in Cyprus. In this situation there is so much uncertainty because of recent events that it is very difficult for anyone to provide exact and precise forecasts."
EUROGROUP PRESIDENT JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM (ON CYPRUS)
"The programme is ten billion (euros) as agreed - all other elements of the programme will be financed either from the bail-in of banks, privatisation and other elements. There is no surprise there.
"Cyprus is going through a very difficult time obviously. But the programme as a whole is substantial and strong enough."
DIJSSELBLOEM (ON PORTUGUESE AND IRISH LOAN EXTENSIONS)
"We are going to try to reach an agreement on the extension of maturities for Portugal and Ireland (OTC BB: IRLD - news) . That is very important for those countries. It doesn't prove that programmes don't work, it proves that programmes do work because it helps them to get out of the programme. They need that to smooth the path out of the programme. That helps them to get proper market access again."
IRISH FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL NOONAN (ON EXTENSION OF EU LOANS)
"The commission paper, which has been available, settled on a seven year extension of maturities... There doesn't seem to be significant pushback. The best way of putting it is I don't see any objection in principle... Sometimes it is difficult to foresee if there might be difficulties in the parliaments."