THE German government has confidence Ireland will emerge through the economic crisis without needing a bailout, the country’s European Affairs Minister has said.
Dr Werner Hoyer said the economic transformation in this country and the budgetary cuts taken in recent years had convinced European observers of the country’s prospects of recovery.
“I think there is deeply rooted trust and confidence in this country’s ability to work out its problems.
“Of course everybody is concerned... but there is a fundamental belief in what that the Irish are doing.”
Mr Hoyer said Ireland was not in the same category as Greece and the German government had admiration for the ability to take unpopular decisions without disruptive public protests.
“The measures taken by this government have not made this government more popular. So from a politicians’ point of view, it is remarkable.”
He also outlined his country’s new vision for European economic development which he said was investment in “education, education and education”.
Mr Hoyer said Europe needed to focus on research and innovation at all levels.
This is a boost to Marie Geoghegan-Quinn after she was awarded this brief in the new EU Commission.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner on a visit to Ireland, he said there was an urgent need for Europe to restructure its foreign affairs remit.
Germany was anxious that a common approach to the EU’s overseas presence, the European Action Service, was agreed before the British general elections in May, that could see a Euro-sceptic Conservative government sweep into power.
Mr Hoyer said the European Union should be able to offer consular assistance to all its citizens through a unified service. This would allow member states to cut their embassies’ budgets to allow the EU to pool its resources and deal directly with consular issues.
He said even an economic giant such as Germany was facing “incredible financial pressure” in its foreign office. After seeking the support of his Irish counterpart, Dick Roche, he was confident Ireland was onside.
And, although not all countries supported the plan, he was hopeful of getting agreement. “[We sought] Irish support when we try to get this structure on track very soon and this stretch of the way we need to preserve the interest of the members.”
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