IRELAND earned a badge of honour coming out of the bailout, the EU's most senior civil servant Catherine Day said today.
Dublin-born Catherine Day, secretary general of the European Commission, claimed 2014 will be a year of “back to normal” with Ireland no longer treated as a special member state under a special regime.
Speaking in Dublin, she said: "Coming out of the programme at the end of the year was a badge of honour.
“It’s something we (in Europe) are very proud of as well.”
She told the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) that this was a crucial year for the European Union.
A return to growth is urgently needed in the wake of the economic crisis, she said, while European Parliament elections will be held and a new Commission President and set of Commissioners appointed.
Ms Day also commended Ireland on the well-organised running of its EU Presidency.
“The ministers and officials involved really did do a very good public relations job for Ireland by showing what a very focused team can do,” she added.