Belfast Telegraph

EU chiefs upbeat on Irish recovery

European chiefs are optimistic Ireland will make a full return to the international money markets by the end of the year.

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said the economic crisis had improved over the last two years but he warned against complacency.

"We are not suggesting that things are easy or work is completed - not at all," Mr Barroso said. "But the confidence that is in the market is extremely good news. So we have confidence Ireland will come fully back to the markets by the end of this year."

Mr Barroso was in Dublin with European Parliament president Martin Schulz for talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The Commission chief said the country should be encouraged by growing international confidence in its economic recovery. "This confidence is critical for investment - without confidence, there is no investment, without investment, there is no growth," he said.

Earlier this week, Ireland - now a third of the way through its six-month term of the European presidency - announced an end to its controversial bank guarantee.

The eligible liabilities guarantee (ELG) scheme, which was set up in 2009 following a collapse of share prices, saw taxpayers' money cover the costs of losses of Ireland's biggest banks. Corporate deposits over 100,000 euro were guaranteed in the scheme.

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny said just a few years ago the country had "no integrity, no credibility", but that it was on its way back. He said the country had taken on an enormous challenge and agreed there were signs of returning confidence.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office have revealed the first increase in employment figures in half a decade.

"But there is absolutely no room for complacency and there is no time to waste," Mr Kenny warned. "We want to use our presidency as a demonstration of what we can do in Ireland. And as president, to raise our profile of what we can do in Europe."

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