THE TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has accepted “on behalf of the Irish people” the Golden Victoria European of the Year award from a German magazine publisher’s group at a ceremony in Berlin.
Addressing the German Magazine Publishers Association at the Deutsche Telecom headquarters, Kenny said he felt privileged to accept the Golden Viktoriaon “on behalf of the Irish people at home and overseas”.
The Taoiseach said Ireland’s commitment and contribution to Europe “far exceed” the country’s 40-year EU membership, and pointed out that the people of Ireland voted “more often more positively on Europe than any other EU member.”
He said that Ireland is now on the road to recovery, having honoured its EU-IMF commitments:
Last year our economy started to grow again, our exports climbed to record-levels. We’re bringing government spending under control. Internationally investors are showing new confidence in Ireland resulting in lower yields on Irish government bonds.
We’re determined to exit the EU-IMF programme on schedule next year.
However, Kenny said Ireland now had two key priorities – the first being to relieve the bank-debt burden equalling 40 per cent of the nation’s GDP, although he made no direct appeal to the German government on this point.
The second priority, he said, was tackling unemployment.
“It’s why Ireland’s forthcoming EU Presidency will be all about stability, jobs, growth,” he said.