The European Commission today publishes its annual analysis of the economic and social situation in the Member States, including an assessment of remaining imbalances. This is known as the European Semester Winter Package.
The Commission summarised the findings for Ireland as follows: "Ireland is experiencing imbalances. Despite improvements in flow variables, large stocks of public and private debt and net external liabilities constitute vulnerabilities. Strong productivity growth in past years has contributed to improved competitiveness, and the recent worsening in the Net International Investment Position appears to be driven by factors disconnected with the domestic economy. On the back of a strong recovery, the ratios of private and government debt to GDP remain high but are falling. The share of non-performing loans has been declining over the last years, but remains elevated."
In a speech this evening to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) on Brexit, Ireland and the European Union, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: "A fragment of Berlin Wall lies outside the European Commission in Brussels. It provides a very useful reminder of the positive forces and democratic energies that can be unleashed when walls are torn down. Citizens understood in 1989, in the most visceral way possible, that through the sharing of geography, economy and polity, they would be stronger. We need to recapture that same sense of urgency and conviction."
You can find the full text of the Commissioner's speech below.
On Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 February, EU Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans will visit Dublin. He will begin his programme with a Citizens Dialogue at the University College Dublin Law Society, which you can follow live on the Representation's Facebook page from 6.30 p.m. on Monday evening. Register for the event here.
On Tuesday, First Vice-President Timmermans will hold bilateral meetings with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.
First Vice-President Timmermans will also participate in a Joint meeting of the Oireachtas Committees on EU Affairs and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence, which will be live streamed here on Tuesday at 12.30 p.m.
The Model Council of the European Union debate for secondary schools takes place on Friday, 10 March 2017 in the Printworks in Dublin Castle. Transition, Fifth and Sixth Year students from 28 schools will participate. Each school will represent one of the 28 European Union Member States. The theme of the 2017 debate is EU trade policy. The event will be chaired by Mairéad Lavery of the Irish Farmers' Journal.