Brussels, 25 October 2012
Statement by Vice President Rehn on the conclusion of the eighth review mission to Ireland
I welcome the finding that Ireland's programme remains on track and that the government has reaffirmed its strong commitment to meeting the budgetary targets. I am convinced that Ireland's fiscal adjustment path strikes the right balance between growth and debt-sustainability concerns.
Ireland has made great progress under the programme, after several years of painful adjustment by the Irish people. Many essential reforms have been implemented that can help the Irish economy to recover competitiveness, restore sustainability to public finances and lay the foundations for a return to job-rich growth. Despite this, unemployment remains unacceptably high, especially among the young, and tackling it remains a top priority.
The adjustment effort in Ireland has benefited from a high degree of social consensus and it will be important to maintain this. This is why we have consistently emphasised that the adjustment should be as growth-friendly as possible and that the most vulnerable should be protected.
Ireland has started to regain market access, reflecting growing investor confidence in its capacity to implement adjustment policies. This confidence has been further enhanced by the 29 June euro area summit agreement that the Eurogroup should examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with a view to further improving the sustainability of the well-performing adjustment programme. I welcome the continued commitment of heads of state and government to those summit conclusions.