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Commission should reduce number of post-bailout missions to Ireland – Hayes

Commission should reduce number of post-bailout missions to Ireland – Hayes

Under the conditions of Ireland’s bailout, every six months the European Commission produces a ‘post-programme surveillance’ report which assesses our financial situation and our ability to repay bailout funds. This report usually includes a mission of Commission officials to Ireland. Brian Hayes MEP, in response to an answer recevied from Commissioner Moscovici said:

“The current post-bailout procedure for Ireland represents an excessive level of surveillance. For a country with the highest growth in the EU, it seems perverse that we have twice yearly reports assessing our economic and financial situation, along with regular missions.

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“In the first quarter of 2017, there will be a 7th post bailout surveillance mission to Ireland. Would it not be better for the Commission to focus on preparing for the challenge of Brexit than to continue with these superfluous bailout visits which seem to just represent a box-ticking exercise. We also must consider that, last November, the Commission already undertook a thorough analysis of Ireland’s 2017 budget which measured the state of our economy and public finance position.

“Commissioner Moscovici has not acknowledged the unnecessary nature of the post-bailout surveillance. He has informed me that the intensity of the post-bailout surveillance for Ireland is proportionate to the economic difficulties that led to the crash.

“This is once again an example of the Commission being inflexible in enforcing the rules. Yes there are certain legal obligations that the Commission must adhere to but it is quite obvious that Ireland has turned the corner and no longer needs such close scrutiny.

“It would be completely sensible for the Commission to reduce the number of missions it undertakes to Ireland. It is expected that under current bailout provisions, the Commission’s post bailout surveillance of Ireland will last until 2031, provided that Ireland does not make any early repayments to EU Troika partners.

“If we are to face another 14 years of surveillance, there should really be some proper flexibility from the Commission in keeping with our economic growth and public finance position. Closer monitoring should be warranted if the economy or public finance position gets into difficulty. But to keep this exercise going while we have a strong economic position represents a waste of resources, both for the Commission and for the Irish public service.”

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