The news in Europe has been dominated by the doings in Scotland for the past several weeks, and that is understandable given the implications had it voted for independence from the United Kingdom. But the surprising and positive, if underplayed, story of the last few months has been in Ireland.
It was not so long ago that Ireland was a charter member of the highly criticized, high in debt PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Greece). Now the Irish are growing at an 8% rate, as there has been a general recovery in some of the more downtrodden sectors of the economy. The construction sector was absolutely hammered a few years ago as the boom turned to bust and the banks collapsed as they had become too embroiled in the crisis. Ireland righted the ship fairly quickly, and the construction sector is back to normal or at least a semblance of normal. There has also been a surge in exports and a major improvement in the country as far as basic manufacturing. One of the advantages that developed in the last year has been that Dublin is getting a reputation as a destination for companies in the US looking to make tax-related moves. There have been some high profile inversion decisions made that moved US company headquarters to Ireland for tax reasons as well as being a cheap way to gain access to the rest of Europe.
The news has not been as good for much of the rest of Europe, including the European Central Bank, nations struggling with austerity measures or anyone hoping for a quick and relatively peaceful end to the standoff along the Ukraine-Russia border. Overall, the European situation is not getting much better, and that worries a great many people throughout the world. It is not just because the world needs the market that has long been provided by the EU, but also because there are implications for policy throughout the world. The problem is that Europe needs the kind of boost that can only come from the government, and there is no desire to provide it.
- Armada Corporate Intelligence