Sunday 18 February 2018

Rehn: public debt still a bump in road

Olli Rehn
Olli Rehn
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

IN BRUSSELS the European Commission has warned the Government against complacency and said more progress is needed as public debt remains high and the financial sector is still vulnerable.

The Brussels body said economic difficulties remain which require "specific monitoring and decisive policy action".

Commission vice-president Olli Rehn said that the banking sector would be at the core of Ireland's bi-annual surveillance by the troika until 75pc of the bailout loans had been repaid.

"We will focus on fiscal policy, on economic reforms, as well as the banking sector," Mr Rehn, above, said.

The Commission conducted in-depth reviews of the economies of 17 countries that it believes have macro economic imbalances, including Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

But they were excessive in Croatia, Italy and Slovenia. This means the Commission will now monitor their economies closely, making sure they implement reforms recommended by EU finance ministers.

It also warned France would miss agreed budget deficit reduction targets unless it took action, while it said that a four-month probe of Germany's current account surplus revealed a macroeconomic imbalance that could threaten the eurozone.

In Ireland's case, it said private and public sector indebtedness and unemployment means risks remain.

The review highlighted the progress made, including better financial supervision and regulation and the reduction in unemployment, but added more progress was needed.

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