Taoiseach on Euro in Dail

Key points from the Taoiseach in the Dail re Eurozone (responding to
Shane Ross)
• There is a difference between fiscal union and fiscal
discipline. What the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has talked
about is fiscal discipline. She believes that if countries sign on
for a set of conditions, then they should be seen to be enforceable.
The French President, however, has a different view about the
requirements for fiscal union, an entirely different matter, in areas
such as tax harmonisation.

• The crisis is now. It has to be addressed with the facilities
and tools available. From our perspective, I have not hitched our
wagon to the concept of eurobonds because one might well store up
serious trouble for the country further down the line. Our view is
that the ECB should be the backstop of ultimate and infinite firepower
to deal with the question of contagion that affects every country.
• My perspective for the meeting on 9 December is to deal
politically with the crisis we have now and that means making
political arrangements to provide a sufficiently credible backstop.
• The objective of our political direction is to retrieve
economic sovereignty for our people and our country. That has been
lost in the sense that we have been subject to a bailout in the troika
programme. As I have said previously on many occasions, I have no
intention of agreeing to anything on tax harmonisation. We have been
clear about our corporate tax rate, as has everybody else in the
House. It is set out clearly across the entire spectrum at 12.5%,
with an effective rate of 11.9%. It is there for everybody to see and
it has not moved up or down.
ESRI Autumn Quarterly Economic Commentary – Key Points:
• The ESRI is projecting that the economy will return to growth
this year, the first annual increase in real GDP since 2007. This is
the general expectation among domestic and international commentators
following robust growth in the first half of the year.
• It forecasts that the economy will continue to expand in
2012, but now expects much weaker growth than it did in September.
This reflects the impact the weakening external environment will have
on our exports.
• The ESRI now expects growth of 0.9% next year, that’s below
the Dept of Finance’s recent forecast (1.0%), and below the private
sector consensus (1.5%).
• The ESRI are projecting a pick-up in the unemployment rate
next year. This is in contrast to the views of the Department of
Finance and other commentators who see unemployment peaking this year.
• The Government is giving priority to job protection, job
creation and supporting unemployed people. The Jobs Initiative
published earlier this year included a number of measures that will
help in this respect, as will the new National Employment and
Entitlements Service.

Minister Noonan publishes independent report on the demand for credit by SMEs
The independent report commissioned by the Department of Finance on
the demand for credit by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) published
today shows:
– 36% of SMEs surveyed requested bank credit in the period April-September 2011.