Rehn: Fiscal plan 'protects least well off'

The EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn has said the Government's four-year fiscal plan "strikes a good balance of durable expenditure and revenue measures, with due regard to protecting the least well off".

The commissioner also welcomed the continued commitment of the Irish Government to reducing the deficit to below 3% by 2014.

He said the four-year plan is an important contribution to the stabilisation of Irish public finances.

Mr Rehn said: "A 2011 budget involving a consolidation effort of €6bn, would be appropriate, as it would strike a balance between allowing the nascent recovery to strengthen and addressing budgetary challenges in a timely fashion.

"I welcome the structural reform commitments included in the plan. These policies encourage exports and a recovery of domestic demand. Implementation of the reforms will thus contribute to the authorities' ambitious fiscal adjustment strategy and a return to fiscal sustainability.

"The plan is a sound basis for the negotiations on the fiscal and structural reforms of the policy programme underlying the international financial assistance that Ireland has requested to the EU and the IMF."

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