Three years after going to international lenders, Ireland has officially ended its bailout, providing a landmark for eurozone efforts to resolve its debt crisis, its finance minister said on Friday.
Ireland sought emergency help three years ago to keep its finances under control and has met the terms of the program, cutting spending and raising taxes to bring down its budget deficit and rebalance the economy. Economic growth is slowly returning to Europe and Portugal aims to follow Ireland in completing its bailout next year, but deep problems remain particularly in Greece, stuck deep in depression.
Ireland's economy is forecast to grow by about 2 percent next year, unemployment has fallen below 13 percent, from a 15.1 percent peak in 2012, and Dublin is confident enough to do without a backup credit line as insurance against market shocks.
The country of 4.6 million is funded into 2015 thanks to debt issuance over the last 18 months and is showing the way to Greece, Portugal and Cyprus, which have also had sovereign bailouts, and Spain, which has had help for its banking system.
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