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Murphy welcomes Commission's report on Ireland's competitiveness

The Minister for European Affairs and Data Protection, Dara Murphy T.D., today (Thursday 11th September) welcomed the findings of the European Commission's annual industrial competitiveness report, which ranked Ireland in the top tier of EU countries.

Speaking at the Fine Gael Think In in Fota Island, Cork, Minister Murphy said, "the Commission's 2014 Competitiveness Report, in ranking Ireland in the top tier of EU countries, along with only three others, is proof of our commitment to delivering a sustainable and competitive economy which will deliver growth and jobs for our people. The Government has made this goal our overarching objective since taking office and this report serves to highlight that the strategies we have been implementing are achieving results.

We will continue to work hard at ensuring that jobs, growth and competitiveness remains at the very top of the EU agenda and I will be working with my counterparts at the General Affairs Council to this end. In particular, we will be discussing the follow-up to the implementation of the Conclusions of the June European Council, which set out the Strategic Agenda for the European Union. This Agenda reflects an unambiguous commitment to strengthening the economic recovery that, though fragile, is now underway across Europe."

Commenting further, Minister Murphy said, "there is clearly more that can, and must be done, through the work of the new EU Institutions to support a more robust response to unacceptably high levels of unemployment. This means restoring normal lending conditions through a fit-for-purpose financial sector; maintaining strong momentum on the single market and external trade agendas; and addressing investment bottlenecks more generally, including in the crucial areas of transport, energy and telecom infrastructure.

I also firmly believe that we need to develop a thriving pan-European entrepreneurial environment, support our SMEs and recognise labour mobility as an enabler of competitiveness rather than a hindrance. In putting his Commission together, President-elect Juncker has sent a clear message that jobs, growth and investment is his top priority and I look forward to his proposals for mobilising €300billion in additional public and private investment in the real economy over the next three years.

Delivering the digital single market, and unlocking its €250 billion potential of additional growth for Europe, is another key element in driving competitiveness. Creating a knowledge-based society and nurturing our creative industries will deliver thousands of jobs, particularly for young graduates and younger job-seekers. Hand in hand with the development of the digital market is the important work to be done in on Europe's data protection regime. Ireland will be to the fore of driving this agenda in Europe, ensuring a high level of protection for personal data, while also supporting the enormous growth potential of the digital economy.

I believe that it is about achieving the right balance between the optimum level of protection for consumers and the burden of delivering that protection."