In a positive sign for struggling countries in Europe, Ireland has emerged from the emergency economic assistance it received from the European Union and International Monetary Fund in 2010.
Under the terms of its bailout, Ireland agreed to raise taxes and slash spending to restore its finances. The small country, which is home to 4.6 million people, complied with the terms of its sovereign bailout and has seen its unemployment rate drop below 13% in 2013, down from 15.1% last year. The Irish economy is now expected to see 2% growth in 2014, Reuters notes.
Ireland’s finance minster noted that the end of the bailout was a “very significant milestone” on the country’s continuing recovery. He said Ireland had to maintain fiscal discipline, though some tax cuts could be considered over the next few years.
Earlier this year, Ireland successfully issued more debt, leaving it with $30 billion in cash. The country is poised to lower its national debt from 124% of GDP this year to 116% of GDP next year.
Three years ago, Ireland fell into serious financial trouble after a government plan to bailout its own banks caused its national debt to balloon.
Portugal is expected to emerge from its bailout next year. But Spain continues to struggle with debt issues and Greece’s remains mired in a stark economic downturn.