EU sends warning on jobless figures
Europe’s top economic official has warned unemployment in Ireland remains too high.
But Olli Rehn, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, said there were also signs the Irish economy was picking up and the country is on track to successfully exit its bailout package.
Speaking at the Eurogroup press conference in Luxembourg, Mr Rehn said massive rescue deals had helped turn around both Ireland and Spain.
“We are now two months from the end of the Irish programme and three months from the end of the Spanish financial sector programme,” he said.
“Both programmes are on track for a successful conclusion.
“The conditional financial support has helped to deliver an economic turnaround in the two countries concerned.”
Mr Rehn said Ireland’s economy had grown every year since the beginning of the €64bn bailout programme more than three years ago.
“Exports have remained resilient and there are signs that domestic demand is picking up,” he added.
But he warned that although unemployment was beginning to fall, it remains “much too high”.
Mr Rehn said he did not want to prejudge an upcoming report from the Central Bank, but he believes Ireland has a “very good chance of successfully concluding” its rescue package “in a sustainable manner”.
At the weekend, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Ireland would leave the bailout programme – funded by the European Union, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) – on December 15.
But he added fragile times were ahead and there was still a long way to go.
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