IRELAND, Spain and Portugal were among the countries singled out in European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s state of the union speech as seeing economic improvements.
Mr Barroso declared that economic recovery was in sight after nearly four years of debt crisis and he urged Government’s to move faster to complete the continent’s proposed banking union.
In his last state of the union speech before elections in May, Mr Barroso said that efforts had paid off and that the most vulnerable countries were now paying less to borrow.
“We see that the countries who are most vulnerable to the crisis and are now doing most to reform their economies, are starting to note positive results,” he said.
“In Spain, as a signal of the very important reforms and increased competitiveness, exports of goods and services now make up 33pc of GDP, more than ever since the introduction of the euro.
“Ireland has been able to draw money from capital markets since the summer of 2012, the economy is expected to grow for a third consecutive year in 2013 and Irish manufacturing companies are re-hiring staff.”
He said Greece had completed a “truly remarkable fiscal adjustment” and is regaining competitiveness while growth in Portugal is picking up after many quarters in the red.
"What we can and must do first and foremost is deliver the banking union. It is the first and most urgent way to complete our union," he said in Strasbourg.
His comments are a shot across the bow to the Germans, which have tried to limit the scope of a single banking supervisor and halt the push for an EU-wide authority and fund for dealing and restructuring failed banks, claiming it isn’t legal.
By Colm Kelpie