Speaking at the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, acknowledged the country's efforts to boost job creation and despite the current difficult economic situation, he remained positive about the future: "There is work to be done to keep people in employment and create new jobs, such as providing workers and job-seekers with new skills in sectors that are likely to grow. But the government has rightly made job creation a priority and the key foundations of the Irish success story are still present: a hard-working country with an open economy".
The Commissioner also met with Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection, Richard Bruton Minister for Jobs and Enterprise as well as with Minister Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills and Ciaran Cannon, Minister of State for Training and Skills, where he welcomed the new 'Jobs Initiative' led by the Irish Government. Mr Andor stressed how the initiative could be seen as good practice for Europe. The Commissioner also provided examples of EU actions to boost employability such as the Agenda for new skills and jobs – helping EU countries to reform labour markets and upgrade and match skills with market demand; Your first EURES job abroad – for young jobseekers willing to work abroad; the awareness-raising campaign Youth-at-Work and the European Vacancy Monitor – with information on the sectors and countries where jobs are available.
By 2020, 85% of jobs are expected to call for high or medium-level skills. In a visit to the Digital Skills Academy in Dublin, co-financed from the European Social Fund, the Commissioner explained how EU structural funds can help reforming labour markets and giving workers the right skills. "Ireland is making very good use of the ESF and is on target to draw down €375m for measures supporting labour activation and increased labour participation", he added.
Ireland's GDP growth forecast is 0.6% for this year and 1.9% for 2012. In early 2011 the Irish unemployment rate was 14%. The youth unemployment rate is nearly 28%.