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European Commission issues recommendations to help get Ireland's economy back on track

The Commission published its recommendations in a report yesterday.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has published four recommendations for how Ireland can get its economy back on track following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In its report published yesterday, the Commission noted that the pandemic is “putting national health systems under severe strain, disrupting global supply chains, causing volatility in financial markets, triggering consumer demand shocks and having negative effects across various sectors”. 

“It is threatening people’s jobs, their incomes and companies’ business. It has delivered a major economic shock that is already having serious repercussions in the European Union.”

In its report, the Commission has recommended that Ireland takes action in 2020 and 2021 to “support employment through developing skills”. 

“Address the risk of digital divide, including in the education sector. Increase the provision of social and affordable housing,” the Commission said. 

Secondly, it recommended that Ireland takes “all necessary measures to effectively address the pandemic, sustain the economy and support the ensuing recovery”. 

“When economic conditions allow, pursue fiscal policies aimed at achieving prudent medium-term fiscal positions and ensuring debt sustainability, while enhancing investment,” the Commission said. 

“Improve accessibility of the health system and strengthen its resilience, including by responding to health workforces’ needs and ensuring universal coverage to primary care.” 

The Commission also recommended that Ireland continues to provide support to companies, “especially through measures ensuring their liquidity”. 

“Front-load mature public investment projects and promote private investment to foster the economic recovery,” it said. 

“Focus investment on the green and digital transition, in particular on clean and efficient production and use of energy, sustainable public transport, water supply and treatment, research and innovation and digital infrastructure.”

Finally, the Commission recommended that Ireland “broaden the tax base”. 

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“Step up action to address features of the tax system that facilitate aggressive tax planning, including on outbound payments. Ensure effective supervision and enforcement of the anti-money laundering framework as regards professionals and providing trust and company services,” it said. 

According to the Commission’s latest forecast, unemployment is expected to rise to 7.4% in 2020 and slightly decrease to 7% in 2021. 

The report noted that the Irish government has made “significant use” of income and employment support policy to respond to the pandemic. 

However, it warned: “The challenges facing Ireland in regard to poverty and employment quality and support, including for people with disabilities, remain and they are likely to be exacerbated by the pandemic.” 

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