Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Questions (213)

Micheál Martin

Question:

213. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on Ireland's competitiveness in the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6198/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The competitiveness and industrial performance of EU Member States is monitored on an on-going basis by the European Commission and is reported on in the Commission’s annual Competitiveness Report. The Commission’s 2013 report on Ireland’s industrial performance acknowledges that, while challenges remain, the economic adjustment programme that has been implemented by the Government has had a positive impact on Ireland’s competitiveness.

More widely, Ireland is rated highly internationally as one of the best countries in the world in which to do business, and we have built a strong competitive basis on which to compete in global markets. Ireland has moved up to 17th place in the IMD’s World Competitiveness Yearbook 2013, having being ranked 24th only two years ago. Ireland ranks 6th of the 28 EU Member States in this index. Ireland is ranked 15th in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2014 Report and rates 5th of the EU 28 in this report. In addition, Ireland was recently named by Forbes magazine as the “Best Country for Business”.

There are a number of key areas where Ireland tops the various global competitiveness rankings, including in relation to:

- business impact of rules on foreign direct investment;

- inflation;

- FDI and technology transfer;

- availability of skilled labour;

- flexibility and adaptability of the labour force; and

- investment incentives.

While Ireland’s competitiveness has improved in recent years, we must continue to do more, to ensure that these competitiveness gains are not eroded as the economy begins to recover.

Through the Action Plans for Jobs process, the Government has focussed on measures aimed at restoring our competitiveness position and creating a supportive environment for businesses operating in Ireland. The 2014 Action Plan for Jobs, which was published at the end of February, places a particular focus on improving competitiveness in all areas of economic activity and contains a range of specific measures which will deliver further improvements in our international competitiveness performance. These measures include the regular monitoring of competitiveness issues by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Jobs, which will consider specific initiatives to make it easier to do business in Ireland. The Government will receive a report from the Cabinet Committee on a quarterly basis on these issues.

Other competitiveness measures in the Action Plan for Jobs cover improving cost competitiveness, supporting competitive regions, aligning skills with enterprise needs and using research and innovation to drive job creation. The implementation of these actions, combined with the Government’s exit from the Troika programme and its return to international funding markets, will play a key role in improving our competitiveness further and realising our ambition of making Ireland the best small country in which to do business.