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EU echoes Irish model with jobs creation based on technology

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said yesterday that Europe's new jobs plan will be quite similar to the Government's own proposals for employment.

The EU will be focusing on job creation based on innovation and technology, inclusive to all groups and the green sector.

"Anything that helps promote a strategy that we are in agreement with, I am all in favour of," he said.

A presentation to EU leaders by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso places Ireland sixth on the league table of unemployment across the 27 countries.

Unemployment across the EU is now at 23 million, with another seven million losing their jobs in the past 20 months.

Unemployment is expected to hit 10.3pc this year -- back to levels seen in the the 1990s, while youth unemployment is higher than 21pc.

Mr Cowen said the economic crisis had wiped out much of the progress made by the EU this past decade.

Industrial production was down 20pc last year, with the crisis bringing the EU back to the 1990s.

And GDP growth across Europe fell by 4pc in 2009.

Mr Cowen said he wanted there to be an emphasis on competitiveness, R&D, green technology, the low carbon economy and agriculture and food.

"Let's keep the strategy focused on the main strategic issues in the economy," he said.

Mr Cowen said Europe was part of the wider global economy and Ireland was part of Europe, so it made sense to work together.

He said that Ireland needed to get more expertise in areas where the country can gain a competitive advantage.

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