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Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories - - November 28, 2014
By Finfacts Team
Nov 28, 2014 - 1:01 PM

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Irish Independent

Leading French and German economists proposed a package of reforms and investment initiatives yesterday to revive growth in the Eurozone's two biggest economies.

The economists were commissioned to do the report by both countries.

Henrik Enderlein, of Germany's Hertie School of Governance, and Jean Pisani-Ferry, head of the France Strategie government think-tank, offered an implicit trade-off between shaking up the rigid French labour market and regulated professions, and a public investment boost in German infrastructure.

"The biggest danger we see right now is a period of window dressing where lip service is paid to grand projects and reforms, but no real steps are taken," they said. Both countries face elections in 2017.

"Europe cannot afford to disappoint again, neither economically nor politically," they said.

THE American Chamber of Commerce Ireland has called on the Government to set out its plan for attracting the next generation of multinationals.

PayPal's Louise Phelan, president of the American Chamber, told business chiefs at its Thanksgiving lunch in Dublin yesterday that the so-called roadmap must set out how those in government, industry and education can build an environment to support foreign direct investment (FDI) growth.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also told the lunch that the high rate of income tax would be cut to 50pc in Budget 2016, and reduced further if the Government is re-elected.

"In the past decade, a continued focus on innovation, talent and competitiveness has underpinned our success in attracting a new wave of 'born on the internet' companies to our shores," Ms Phelan said.

"The image of poverty and famine is extremely powerful psychologically. With decades of such imagery being pumped out, the average westerner is likely to donate £2 a month or buy a charity single that gives them a nice warm fuzzy feeling; but they are much less likely to want to go on holiday to, or invest in, Africa. If you are reading this and haven't been to Africa, ask yourself why."

Thus wrote Ghanaian-raised singer Fuse ODG following his decision to pull out of the recent re-recording of the Band Aid single.

The recording has generated controversy, and there has been no little criticism of its driving force, Bob Geldof. Mostly that criticism has been along the lines of Fuse ODG's comments above, focusing on the impact charities have on western perceptions of the developing world in general and Africa in particular.

Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has launched a determined bid to set the political agenda for the coming year with a promise to cut the top marginal tax rate on most incomes to less than 50 per cent if the Coalition wins the next election.

After a year of controversies that have damaged the Government’s standing, Mr Kenny delivered a major speech on the economy with a pledge of continued tax cuts if he is returned to office and a warning about the dangers of political instability.

His tax commitments were outlined at a special Thanksgiving lunch in Dublin hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and later he warned of the dangers of political instability and the impact that might have on the growing pace of the economic recovery.

In a matter of days four external bodies have taken issue with the Government over Budget 2015. To one degree or another, warnings from the Fiscal Advisory Council, the OECD, the IMF and the European troika institutions serve to highlight the fact that the new fiscal plan is not quite risk-free.

Encouraged by resurgent economic growth but in defiance of domestic and international advice, the Government adopted an expansionary budget to make way for modest income tax cuts from January. After years of non-stop retrenchment, this decision had its fundamental roots in politics. To anxiety within Cabinet, Ministers saw the anticipated gain vaporise before their very eyes as unforced errors over Irish Water culminated in an abrupt policy reversal.

The Government expects to repay €9 billion of the State’s loans with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December, in what will be the first instalment of the early repayment of our bailout funds from the Washington DC-based body.

This has been confirmed by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in a reply to a question from Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath.

“The early repayment [of the IMF loans] will take place in tranches, with the first tranche of approximately €9 billion planned for next month,” Mr Noonan said.

It is understood this money will be paid from existing cash balances held by the National Treasury Management Agency on behalf of the State.

Irish Examiner

Up to 600 jobs are being created in Ireland every week, the minister for finance has told a gathering of highly skilled software engineering employees.

Michael Noonan, who officially opened the European, Middle East, and Africa offices of Optel Vision, based in the Raheen Business Park in Limerick, said he was confident the Government would achieve its target of generating 100,000 jobs.

Optel Vision, a Canadian firm specialising in vision inspection solutions for manufacturing industries, announced last October it plans to create 140 jobs in Limerick.

Mr Noonan said: “The trend now, for the third quarter of the year, is somewhere between 500 and 600 jobs a week, and they’re nearly all full-time jobs.”

Europe

Euro Topics: Law must crack down on corrupt politicians: Spain's Health Minister Ana Mato is suspected of having profited from the illicit funds of the so-called Gürtel network and resigned for this reason on Wednesday. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy should learn from the case which has dragged on for years and announce stringent measures at today's parliamentary debate over anti-corruption measures, the conservative business daily Expansión recommends: "The long delay in the investigations has extended the impression among the people that the politicians receive special treatment from the judiciary. This has also happened with other particular notorious cases. Therefore Rajoy must set a maximum time limit for judicial preliminary proceedings. Moreover he must clearly define at which point politicians suspected of corruption must resign."

Germany's women's quota only fights symptoms: As of 2016 German companies will be required to have a minimum 30 percent of their board positions filled by women, the German government decided on Wednesday. A similar quota regulation for the governing boards of Swiss listed companies has so far been blocked in Switzerland's Executive Federal Council. The liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung also takes the view that women should not be placed in leading posts through government imposed quotas: "Any sensible approach to making changes here must first examine the causes. Businesses are also called on to change their ideas and promote the compatibility of career and family by offering flexible solutions. The state should abolish tax systems that discriminate against daycare users and dual-income couples. But telling women, men and companies how to be happy is not its job."

Begging ban won't alleviate poverty in Sweden: The growing number of beggars on Sweden's streets has prompted the Conservatives and right-wing populist Sweden Democrats to resume the debate about a ban on begging. But that won't solve the problem of poverty which affects above all Roma immigrants, the left-liberal daily Aftonbladet argues: "Banning poverty was no solution 100 years ago and it's no solution today. We didn't pull our country out of poverty by calling the police, but with social reforms, education and housing. ... Several issues must be resolved for EU migrants. The large sums of money currently being spent on forced evacuations could be used to build housing. And Sweden should insist on cooperation with Romania. ... Sweden has much experience with development aid around the world. Even though Romania belongs to the EU, this experience should be put to use."


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