Tuesday 30 August 2016

Davos 2016: Ireland's economic recovery 'model' for other European countries

Donal O'Donovan in Davos, Switzerland

Published 21/01/2016 | 09:06

Enda Kernny, Davos
Enda Kernny, Davos
Enda Kenny

Ireland's recovery is a model that countries in the rest of Europe can look to order to revive economies, according to Enda Kenny.

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Five years ago the country was being "hammered" under the Troika, the Taoiseach said. The recovery since then included winning popular support for the Fiscal Compact Treaty Referendum, the kind of hard option regarded as politically impossible by many elsewhere, he said.

"As a small country we have demonstrated that working with people you can get out of that," the Taoiseach said.

Growth in the economy needed to be revived before other issues such as whether spending should focus on providing services or investing in infrastructure, he said.

He was speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) today, where he's taking part in a panel discussion on 'Rebooting the global economy' alongside Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz - best known for his rejection of strict austerity policies - and senior political and business figures from China, and Brazil.

He also insisted that Ireland is now better insulated against global economic risks than at the start of the last crisis.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) annual conference in Davos, Switzerland has been overshadowed this week by the dire state of world financial markets.

The dramatic collapse in global oil markets, a massive share sell off, and a flood of money out of developing economies including China into so called safe haven investments has dominated discussions at the event.

Speaking on his way into the conference early today, Enda Kenny said Ireland can continue to protect itself against global risks by keeping any increase in public spending below the rate of underlying economic growth and by investing in research and innovation.

"From our point of view, as a domestic economy which is open we have put in place a long term economic plan to insulate us in so far as that is possible from any of these shifts that will take place. that includes continuing to be very competitive, continuing to keep our cost base under control, continuing to control public spending to learn from the lessons of the past and to not have a boom and bust situation," he told reporters.

The Taoiseach is among the speakers at the WEF event today, he'll take part in a panel discussion on 'Rebooting the global economy' alongside Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz - best known for his rejection of strict austerity policies - and senior political and business figures from China, Turkey and Brazil.

Commenting on a potential Brexit, he said: "Our overriding view is that whatever changes are tabled and actually agreed should be for the benefit of all Europeans and all countries within the Union.

 I think that is an issue that the prime minister himself is very clear about.

 "Ireland supports very strongly the fact that Britain should remain to be a central player in the European Union. The Union would be weaker without Britain. And obviously would have implications for Ireland were Britain to leave."

The Taoiseach, who is taking part in a panel discussion this morning at the Swiss event, said he would tell delegates that the  Irish people made the recovery possible.

"I'm going to tell them Ireland's story, where the journey that our people have brought  our country on over the last five years, from a position of hopelessness just five years ago to a situation where you are seen to be the fastest growing in Europe over the last two years.

"But also to point out that we have a long term economic policy and a long term economic plan ourselves and what that plan actually entails and what it means. And what it means is continuing to be competitive, continuing to keep costs under control, continuing to look at the opportunities and new challenges that are up ahead in research and innovation, food security.

 

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