The Minister for Finance has said that, while the pandemic is not “fully behind us”, Ireland and the European Union are seeing very positive indicators of recovery.
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Paschal Donohoe said that unemployment levels across the Euro area has reached a low of 7%, while output is back to pre-pandemic levels.
Mr Donohoe made the comments during an event at the DCU Brexit Institute.
The virtual event examined the recovery of Europe, with a focus on the 750 billion euro Next Generation EU Recovery Fund, put together by the EU institutions and Member States to respond to the socio-economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking from Paris, Mr Donohoe said: “This pandemic tested the solidity, solidarity, the effectiveness of the modern European system but I’d also make the case that Europe rose to the challenge.
“In contrast to the crisis of a decade ago, we took decisive action to soften the blow of the immediate economic and health crisis, and minimise the short term consequences of the crisis for workers, for businesses and for member states.
“Millions of lives and millions of livelihoods were protected by these actions.
“They strengthened the bond between the European public and the European body politic.
“For me, our shared European response to this pandemic underpins the contemporary rationale for the European Union.
“We achieve more if we act collectively.
“We know this is the case in Ireland but I also believe it is acknowledge more and more across Europe too.
“Our citizens can see the immense practical value in the power of solidarity and in the consequences of cooperation.”
“As Minister for Finance for Ireland and as president of the Eurogroup, I have been privileged to be involved in and to witness the European response to the pandemic.
“While we cannot yet say the pandemic is fully behind us, we are seeing some very positive indicators of recovery.
“If you look at the economic performance of the Euro area, output is back to where it was at its pre-pandemic level, with annual growth of over 5%.
“Euro area unemployment has now reached a low of 7%.
“However, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is the need to acknowledge uncertainty and uncertainty is associated with changing health and economic conditions.
“This is why the Eurogroup has agreed on a moderately supportive fiscal stance for next year.
“We also acknowledge the emergence of inflation as a risk to our recovery.
“The effect of higher prices on growth and on the purchasing power of those we represent, is something we all recognise to be a cause of concern.”
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