Belgium can learn from Irish economy

10th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2007 , BRUSSELS – On Tuesday, the second day of the three-day royal visit to Ireland, King Albert attended the final day of the economic forum organised by the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (VBO) and the Irish Business and Employers' Confederation (IBEC). VBO Chairman Jean-Claude Daoust said on Tuesday that the country could take a lesson from the Irish economic model.

10 October 2007

BRUSSELS – On Tuesday, the second day of the three-day royal visit to Ireland, King Albert attended the final day of the economic forum organised by the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (VBO) and the Irish Business and Employers' Confederation (IBEC). VBO Chairman Jean-Claude Daoust said on Tuesday that the country could take a lesson from the Irish economic model.

In recent years Ireland has evolved from being the poorest country in Europe to become the second richest of the EU (after Luxembourg). As a result, it has been given the nickname "Celtic Tiger", a term referring to the "Asian Tigers", which are going through a comparable spectacular period of growth.

Between 1993 and 2000, the Irish economy had an average annual growth of 8 percent. The unemployment rate of 4.2 percent is exceptionally low and more than 1,200 foreign companies have set up business there. A young, highly-trained population, an active immigration policy, tax reductions and efforts to attract foreign investors are a number of the keys to this success, according to VBO chairman Daoust. "Belgium can take quite some lessons from the Celtic Tiger story", he said on Tuesday.
 
Daoust referred to a reduction in tax, among other points. In Ireland, corporate tax comes to just 12.5 percent; in Belgium this is 33.99 percent. The VBO argues for a reduction in tax to 25 percent, roughly the European average.

The country can also take a lesson from the Irish on the immigration policy question. The VBO top man said on Tuesday that Belgium must remove the obstacles for free labour movement within the EU and extend its efforts to motivate employment seekers. "On the matter of human capital, the needs of companies and the content of study programmes should be better geared to one another", was Daoust’s final comment.

Later on Tuesday evening King Albert II and Queen Paola invited the Irish president Mary McAleese and her husband to the National Gallery for a concert and buffet with Belgian specialities.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news

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