Leaving Cert. Irelands Economy

Irish Regions

Question: Examine the impact of EU expansion on Ireland's economy and/or culture. (30 Marks)
The EU accounts for 40% of all trade in goods and services worldwide. Ireland became part of this when it joined in 1973. Back then, Ireland was a nett beneficiary which meant we got significant financial funds to help us develop our country. e.g. (CAP or CFP or ERDF). As the 10 new states have joined the EU, Ireland has become a nett contributor. The funds we received are now aimed at developing the economies of the newer states, such as Poland. We will face increased competition for mobile investment. This is due to the newer countries having cheaper labour, low inflation and low tax rates, making it cheaper for MNC's to locate there rather than in Ireland. As we can see, many companies that have 'lower value' jobs have already begun to move away from Ireland to eastern periphery countries. Ireland will need to fight this competition and make the country more lucrative for MNC's by maybe providing tax breaks for example. For instance, labour costs in Poland average at €2 per hour but in Ireland they average €17.50.
However, EU expansion does have positive effects on our economy. THe new enlarged market will have an extra 75million people, bringing the EU population to over 450million, resulting in new prospects for Irish exports. Ireland needs to begin forging business links with the new member states like what AIB have already begun in Poland. THere is a huge new market out there and Ireland needs to exploit that soon before other countries do. Ireland is retaining its policy of allowing anyone in the EU to come and work in the country. This means companies will have more choice when it comes to choosing workers, with different skills and language abilities, requiring companies to adopt to the changes.
The new 10 countries will put a lot of strain on the CAP, as about 28% of the workforce are dependant on agriculture. Ireland's current income from...