Sunday 17 February 2019

Ibec backs EU but warns on tax and labour policies

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Irish business chiefs overwhelmingly see European Union membership as important for the future of the Irish economy in general, a survey by employers group Ibec has found.

However, in a paper published today, Ibec warned that Ireland's economic fortunes demand an "outward-looking EU" and said that tax and labour market policies must remain a matter for individual member states.

That's a reference to fears that the British exit from the European Union will boost the influence of France, seen as more centralising and less market-oriented, within the remaining bloc.

"The EU remains a model of global success. Now is not the time for any dramatic change in direction.

"We need more co-operation in areas where there is a clear collective benefit. This includes completing the single market, digitalisation and global trade," said Ibec CEO Danny McCoy.

"However, in areas such as taxation, labour market and social policy, individual governments are best-placed to tailor policy to domestic needs."

Ibec's survey found Brexit had failed to dint business support for Ireland's EU membership.

The group will launch its priorities for the Future of Europe at an event in Dublin today, with Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee.

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