The country-specific recommendations are documents prepared by the European Commission for each Member State, which analyse its economic situation and provide tailored policy advice on measures that it should adopt over the coming 18 months. They cover the particular challenges that the Member State is facing in a broad range of areas: the state of public finances, reforms of pension systems, measures to create jobs and to fight unemployment, education and innovation challenges, efficiency of the public administration, competition etc. The final adoption of country-specific recommendations prepared by the Commission takes place at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council.
Ireland is emerging from the crisis and returning to a path of balanced growth. Employment is expected to continue rising, while unemployment is projected to decline more moderately. Wage and price pressures should remain subdued, further boosting competitiveness. Ireland is recommended to correct its excessive deficit by 2015 at the latest.
Ireland successfully completed its EU-International Monetary Fund financial assistance programme in December 2013. Key outcomes included deficit reduction, improvement in fiscal rules and institutions, bank deleveraging and increases in bank capital adequacy ratios, strengthened supervisory and regulatory role of the Central Bank of Ireland and labour market reforms, including a reshaping of activation policies. Private households increased their saving rates to cut their indebtedness. House prices have started to recover, especially in Dublin. As a result, real GDP posted low but positive growth in 2011-2013.
Despite these achievements and as highlighted in the 2014 in-depth review presented by the Commission on 5 March 2014, Ireland remains characterised by macroeconomic imbalances, notably in the financial area and in terms of public and private indebtedness, which require specific monitoring and decisive policy action. Thus, important challenges persist, especially in the areas of fiscal consolidation, and financial and structural reforms. See how Ireland compares with other EU Member States in key areas.
2014 European Commission's recommendations in brief
The Commission has issued seven country-specific recommendations to Ireland to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: public finances; health care; labour market, education and training; social inclusion; access to finance; financial sector; legal services.