May 18, 2004, Prague
AFTER THE ENTRY INTO THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES/EUROPEAN UNION
Tuesday, May 18, 2004 "Vinárna" of the Prague Municipal House
"The EU membership turned us from a stagnant, backward, failed part of the British regional economy into a modern and prosperous European country."
Pat Cox, president of the European Parliament
When Ireland joined European structures in 1973, its per-capita income was 62% of the EU average; by 2002 it was 121%. Yet the miracle did not happen overnight. As late as in 1987 the country still suffered from a double-digit unemployment, vast emigration and a public debt of over 120% of GDP. In 2004 the top corporate rate stands at 12,5%, the state's share of GDP is down to 33% and unemployment is less than 5%. (source: The Economist)
In a roundtable debate, organized by the Forum 2000 Foundation and Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung, participants shared their thoughts with us on the following issues:
- To what extent was the Irish economic success a result of EC/EU membership and to what extent it was a result of clever domestic Irish policies?
- Has Ireland implemented correct policies right from the 1970s when it entered the EC or are these policies a matter of last one or two decades?
- How have the Irish government and the civil service coped with the entry into the European structures? Have they encountered any serious problems or challenges?
- Are conditions in Ireland and in the Czech Republic comparable?
- What "Irish lessons" should be followed, what should be avoided?
- What other, non-economic benefits the Irish Republic gained by its entry into Europe?