Wednesday, October 10 12:44:40
Among reams of data from the EU today, one set of figures shows that Ireland is among the top most competitive States but where firms can't get the credit they need.
Ireland is now second only to the ravaged Greek economy when it comes to access to funding for small and medium sized firms, it shows.
But Ireland is among the top ten EU countries for 'innovation' with a highly skilled workforce and the strong presence of technologically advanced firms, the figures show.
On a more negative note, the data also shows up Ireland as a place where access to funding for SMEs has deteriorated to third worst in the EU.
The 'consistent performers', whose industries are dominated by technologically advanced firms and whose workforces are highly skilled. This group includes: Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and France.
Between 2006 and 2011, labour productivity in manufacturing improved in most Member States. With all but two Member States showing an increasing proportion of highly-skilled labour force, the overall trend since 2006 suggests a continued shift to a more knowledge-based economy and an accompanying increase in medium and highly-qualified labour, at the expense of low-skilled jobs.
While the EU has broadly held to a 20pc share of global exports (excluding energy), the relative share of individual Member States has shown mixed performance. Since 2006, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain have expanded their share of EU goods exports, while those of France, Italy, the United Kingdom and Ireland have declined.
A summary for Ireland found that we have made good progress in achieving our adjustment programme's goals.
Despite the remaining challenges, these efforts have improved business prospects and strengthened competitiveness."
"The challenge for Ireland is to improve the prospects of the domestic SMEs. The sector is held back by weak domestic demand, lack of innovation, problems with access to finance, and rising costs of doing business at local level. The government should continue to keep a close eye on access to finance, as improvement in this area is crucial for future growth. The lack of domestic demand and lack of finance have lowered the level of investment in equipment, which remains under the EU average."
"The Irish government's 'Action Plan for Jobs 2012' is a broad-based plan to address these challenges. If implemented steadfastly, it could considerably reduce the differences in the competitiveness of the domestic and multinational sectors. The challenge is to avoid the fragmentation of efforts, and to increase policy focus on the most promising initiatives enhancing innovation and growth."