Ireland and the European Union
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Ireland has economically benefited from its membership in the European Union. The EU had designed Ireland as a member nation in need of economic assistance prior to the current economic boom. As a result, Ireland has received a large number of economic concessions and subsidies from the EU, which helped to stimulate its economy over the long term. While many of these concessions and subsidies are gradually being eliminated, the nation continues to receive direct financial benefits from its membership in the EU. At the same time, however, membership in the EU has led Ireland to adopt the Euro as its currency, which in effect reduces the ability of the Irish government to directly control monetary policy. The value of the Euro is contingent on the monetary and fiscal policies of the EU member nations that have adopted the currency as a whole, with Ireland representing a relatively small component. Although the EU sets guidelines for policy, it does not have full power to enforce adherence to recommended policy. As a result, Ireland could again face serious fiscal difficulties due to the actions of other EU member nations. Currently, the Euro is relatively weak against the dollar, which provides an export incentive for Irish goods to the United States while attracting foreign direct investment.
The Irish Economy
The Irish economy has become so strong that the government anticipates the nation will require an additional 200,000 skilled workers by the year 2006. To remedy this problem, Ireland is doing the following:
- Ireland is encouraging Irish emigres living in other nations to return to Ireland.
- The government is also likely to permit large-scale immigration of people from other nations.
- The labor shortage is causing upward pressure on wages, and has created a significant number of openings in positions deemed critical for the operation of industry, particularly in information technology.
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