Brussels, 7 February 2013
Statement by Vice-President Rehn on the conclusion of the ninth review mission to Ireland
I welcome today's successful conclusion of the ninth review mission to Ireland. The mission has found that the programme remains on track and that the budgetary targets for 2012 look set to be comfortably met. The government's strong determination to meet its fiscal targets has been crucial to rebuilding confidence in Ireland's economy.
Ireland has made good progress to consolidate its public finances and recover much of the competitiveness that was lost in the boom years. After a deep recession, the Irish economy has been growing since 2011 and we expect its expansion to gradually become more robust later this year and in 2014. Significant progress has also been made in repairing the financial sector, though more needs to be done to enable banks to revive productive lending to the economy. Another key priority is to tackle unemployment, not least by strengthening employment services and accelerating the implementation of key investment projects, including those co-financed by the European Investment Bank.
Market conditions for Irish bonds have been steadily improving and confidence growing. Ireland is on track to exit from the EU-IMF programme as planned. The Commission stands by Ireland and its people and supports them in this objective. In this context, the major steps taken by the Irish authorities regarding the Promissory Notes should further boost confidence and help to facilitate a successful outcome.