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Some hope in Europe

TODAY we will see the first contours of a new government begin to emerge as the page is turned on the 30th Dail. Few will be sorry to see the back of this administration but what we need more than recrimination is a positive sign that things can and will be better.

One such sign came yesterday from Antonio Borges, the IMF's new director for Europe. Mr Borges believes that a stronger focus on rebuilding competitiveness can restore growth and create new jobs across the eurozone. He points to freeing up capital flows, through deeper financial integration, as a means of finding solutions to some of our economic woes.

He rightly suggests that speeding up the reallocation of resources is a priority. Growth in Germany and a number of other EU countries can be the engine of recovery, he believes.

He specifically pointed to Ireland as a country that could quickly benefit from the general pick-up once appropriate steps were taken.

The banking crisis and the debt burden are the most pressing concerns the new administration must engage with.

With the election now out of the way there must be no pretence that we can deal with either without the involvement of Europe.

Mr Borges acknowledged that the IMF and the EU were working closely together on programmes to help countries like Ireland though a series of unprecedented measures deemed necessary given the scale of our problems. But even these may not be enough.

The IMF's new director has struck the right tone of cautious optimism by reminding us that there are solutions. However, full recovery will require new deals and new negotiations, and the new government will have no time to pause for breath.

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