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Lisbon Agenda - Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs - National Reform Programme 2008-2010, Ireland



In these difficult and uncertain times for the Irish, European and World economies, the Lisbon Agenda for Growth and Jobs assumes an even greater importance.

Ireland has made good progress since the first National Reform Programme in 2005, as reflected in economic and employment growth over that period, and some of those achievements are captured in this document.

However the economic situation has changed rapidly during the course of 2008, with a domestic slowdown due to declining construction output compounded by the severe international financial crisis. This creates serious economic and fiscal challenges for the Irish Government and is already being reflected in increased unemployment.

This updated National Reform Programme sets out the current policies and strategies of the Irish Government in the areas of macroeconomic policy, structural and market reforms, and employment. It also responds to specific issues raised by the Commission in their 2007 Progress Report.

The Programme has been prepared after consultation with the social partners under Ireland's social partnership framework, in particular the Review of Towards 2016 which took place during 2008. It is informed by the shared analysis of the social partners and also takes account of consultation with the relevant Oireachtas Committee and regional assemblies.

In view of the fast-changing economic situation, Ireland's 2009 Budget was brought forward to 14 October 2008. While key elements of the Budget are reflected in this Programme, Government policies will continue to evolve in response to the serious challenges which lie ahead.

However, the broad thrust of the Government's strategy remains clear and is consistent with the priorities identified by the European Council including:

  • investing in Research & Development and innovation to build a knowledge-based economy
  • providing a positive climate for entrepreneurship and start-up companies, and supporting export-led growth
  • improving skill levels throughout the workforce and helping those who lose their jobs back into employment or training, and
  • increasing energy efficiency and moving towards a low carbon economy.

The Government looks forward to implementing this National Reform Programme in co-operation with the social partners and will continue to respond to the competitive pressures and challenges which will arise in the period ahead.

Brian Cowen, T.D.



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