Ireland remains fastest-growing economy in Europe

New European Commission forecast expects Irish unemployment levels to fall further

Ireland has retained its status as the European Union’s fastest-growing economy, according to European Commission forecasts published this morning.

The Commission’s triannual analysis of the EU’s 28 economies predicts that Irish gdp (gross domestic product) will grow by 4.5 per cent this year, before slowing to 3.5 per cent in 2017.

Following growth of 6.9 per cent in 2015, Ireland continues to be the fastest-growing economy in Europe. The projected growth rate of 4.5 per cent in 2016 leaves Ireland just ahead of Malta and Luxembourg in terms of gdp growth, with 1.8 per cent growth forecast in the euro zone’s largest economy, Germany, 1.3 per cent for France, and 2.1 per cent in Britain.

Ireland was one of the few EU economies to see its forecasts unchanged since November. Germany, France and Italy are all predicted to fare worse than forecast three months ago, due to a slowdown in China and volatility in world markets, despite the boost from low oil prices.

The European Commission expects Irish unemployment levels, which came in at 9.4 per cent in 2015 to continue to fall to 8.5 per cent this year and 7.8 per cent in 2017.

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