Europe was the centre of attention at the recent G-8 leaders’ summit at Camp David, the US presidential retreat in Maryland, with the main takeaway being the agreement by all to focus on creating jobs and growth while continuing to keep up the fiscal restraint.

Growth and employment generation have been talked about by pundits and the politicians ad nauseam over the past three years and this latest announcement does not really contribute much to the continuing uncertainty over the extent of Europe’s drag effect on the global economy.

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The talk about creating jobs in most European countries has been hot air – far too general in nature and not leading to any progressive action. However, I am pleased to see one European country has got its act together and come up with one of the most integrated, comprehensive, reasoned and straight-talking economic policy documents I have ever seen.  

The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 produced by the government of Ireland does what it says on the tin – it sets out what it plans to do to become the best small country in the world for business by 2016, and get its economy back to full employment by 2020. It is an annual rolling plan that will be monitored closely, and the 2012 version sets out 270 distinct actions to be delivered by all government departments and across 36 agencies of the state. It delves in to how it aims to gain advantage from the growth industries of the future and how it will further develop its strong FDI appeal, both for international entrepreneurs and expanding international businesses. 

The measures demonstrate that Ireland has a plan for its future economic development – it knows what it wants and it is going out to the global marketplace to get it. Businesses want to see governments with direction, and here is hoping that other European countries now start to produce their own bold blueprints for better times.

Douglas Clark is director of Location Connections, a site selection and FDI consultancy. Email: douglas@locationconnections.com.