EU's troika representative denies bailout creates 'democratic deficit'
THE EUROPEAN Commission’s representative on the troika, Istvan Szekely, has denied that there is a “democratic deficit” in the Republic as the result of the conditions attached to the its bailout programme.
“The programme’s main goal is to restore confidence in policies and help get Ireland get back on its feet so it can get financing on its own from the markets,” Mr Szekely told a summit on leadership organised by employers’ group Ibec.
“It is important to point out this conditionality is negotiated with the Government,” he said. “There is no democratic deficit here.”
The man known in political circles by the nickname “The Tall Hungarian” said the troika’s bailout programme was not fixed, but could “adjust to realities” as economic circumstances change.
“The shared goal is for the troika to get out,” he said. “So if we do our job right, we lose our job.”
Mr Szekely, whose official title is country director at the European Commission’s directorate general for economic and financial affairs, said further job losses were likely in some sectors before others could be created in areas “more attuned to the market”.
Ireland’s successful export sector was not creating enough jobs for people on the Live Register, he said, raising the dangers of long-term unemployment.
“I think we can all agree that we cannot afford a lost generation.”
Difficulties faced by businesses trying to access credit would be addressed as part of the troika’s next review of how Ireland’s structural reforms were progressing, he indicated.
On the impact of the fiscal measures imposed following the implementation of the bailout programme, Mr Szekely admitted “more needs to be done” to protect the most vulnerable.
“Ireland has been through difficult times but I am personally very optimistic about the future of this country and I always have been,” he added.
Also addressing the summit in the Convention Centre Dublin, Ibec director general Danny McCoy called for the immediate suspension of public sector pay increments.
Mr McCoy said the payment of the increments was “not credible” at a time when a further €3.5 billion adjustment would be required in the next budget.
“One of the priorities of the budget must be the creation of employment and protection of existing employment,” he said.
Ibec is also calling for an increase in working hours in the public sector, the reform of the allowances system and a cut in pension entitlements.