France can learn from Irish recovery: PM
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Friday said France could find inspiration from the Irish economic recovery, including its start-up culture, as an example of an economy oriented towards high growth.
Ireland's economy raced ahead at the fastest rate in Europe last year following the end of its European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout, and is forecast to grow strongly again this year.
Valls wanted "to see what we can (take) from the Irish example," he said at a joint press conference with Irish counterpart Enda Kenny during a visit to Dublin.
"Everything that was done for small and medium enterprises, start-ups, everything that was done to prepare for the economy of tomorrow, yes, clearly that can inspire us.
"We must always draw inspiration from the success of others, even if our countries are different."
The Irish economy expanded by 4.8 percent in 2014 after several years of tax hikes and spending cuts, whereas France recorded growth of 0.4 percent.
"Following the EU-IMF programme, it's good news for the Irish and for Ireland and a good sign for their efforts and sacrifice and also good news for Europe as a whole," Valls said.
Valls said France's growth rate was too slow and unemployment levels were too high.
"Everything must be done not just to tackle the crisis but to hold onto growth," he said.
Asked if France was prepared to implement deep structural reforms as Ireland did to lay the ground for the current high growth rates, Valls said France was conducting "important reforms", notably lowering public spending and business taxes.
The EU's statistics office forecasts growth to rise to 1.7 percent for the EU as a whole this year and to 1.3 percent for the eurozone.
Kenny said he was encouraged by the data but warned further effort was needed to "translate this progress into a really sustainable European recovery."
In a statement afterwards, the two leaders said there was an urgent need to strengthen EU policies to support growth and jobs by "boosting investment, fostering reforms, and ensuring growth-friendly fiscal consolidation."
Meanwhile, Valls said he hoped "agreement can be found in the coming weeks" on the situation in Greece as the cash-strapped eurozone nation attempts to strike a deal on new funding before Athens runs out of money.
He warned however that "Greece has to continue to follow through with the necessary reform."
© 2015 AFP