Support emerging for investment to tackle unemployment, says President

Higgins rejects suggestion 'Senator’ reference in speech linked to abolition discussions

President Michael D Higgins said  EU leaders had signalled to him  there must be an ongoing focus on the stability of the euro,  during a state visit to Croatia.  Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

President Michael D Higgins said EU leaders had signalled to him there must be an ongoing focus on the stability of the euro, during a state visit to Croatia. Photograph: Vincent Kessler/Reuters

 

Support is increasing across the EU for an investment strategy to tackle youth unemployment, President Michael D Higgins has said.

EU leaders had signalled to him that this issue must be dealt and that there must be an ongoing focus on the stability of the euro currency, he said during a state visit to Croatia.

“I know that from my conversation with heads of state and with others that there seems to be an emerging agreement that you need an investment strategy as well as the issue of stability in securing the currency,” he said, ahead of a meeting this morning with Croatian and Irish business groups.

“That has changed I think because - as the figures come out and the statistics become available in terms of particularly the youth unemployed component of the general unemployment figure - that you need a strategy that will in fact address that issue,” he added.

There was a need for investment generally for both the Irish and Croatian economies and for specific credit to help small and medium businesses. “As to where that is sourced in an institutional sense within the European Union’s architecture, that is probably a matter for the institutions - and very much a matter for the council,” he said.

Potential trade

The trip to Croatia has focused on developing links on trade, tourism and between universities. Potential is seen for trade between the two countries since just €50 million in trade is carried out in both directions. Mr Higgins said there has been interest in Croatia on learning skills from the Irish tourism sector and in Enterprise Ireland as a model for attracting investment into Croatia.

Mr Higgins rejected suggestions that his reference to “Senator W B Yeats” in speeches yesterday was related to ongoing discussions in Ireland on the abolition of the Seanad. “I think insofar as William Butler Yeats signed his letter to Ivan Mestrovic, the sculptor, in responding to the suggestion that he might design some of the Irish coins, it was appropriate to refer to him in that way.

“I think it would be entirely wrong to misconstrue my correct remarks to the relationship and the correspondence between the wonderful Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic and William Butler Yeats in any way as having any connection with the present discourse in relation to the future of institutions in Ireland.

He added: “I have in fact explicitly said that matters that are for Government and matters put by Government to the people are for the people and for the Government.”

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