Tag Archives: Eurostat

This morning.

Yes, but you’re paying for the magic and the craic.



Cost of living in Europe: Are we paying over the odds to live in Ireland? (Irish Times)


The European Union’s statistical organisation Eurostat has published its regional yearbook for 2018.

In relation to the GDP of countries within the EU, Eurostat has found:

One of the most striking details of the map [top] is the presence of pockets of relatively high wealth creation that are apparent for almost every capital city region.

“Nowhere was this more apparent than in one of the two capital city regions of the United Kingdom, Inner London – West, where GDP per capita was more than six times as high as the EU-28 average in 2016 (611 %).

“The next highest ratios were recorded in Luxembourg (a single region at this level of detail; 258 %), Southern and Eastern (the Irish capital city region; 217%) and Région de Bruxelles-Capitale / Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (the Belgian capital city region; 200%).

These were the only four regions across the EU where GDP per capita was at least twice as high as the EU-28 average, although Hamburg (Germany) had a ratio that was only slightly lower and was atypical insofar as its GDP per capita was above that recorded for the German capital region of Berlin.”

The report can be read in full here

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Table showing quarterly and annually changes in house prices across Europe and the EU

Eurostat, the statistical arm of the European Union, writes:

House prices, as measured by the House Price Index, rose by 3.0% in the euro area and by 4.0% in the EU in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter of the previous year.

…Compared with the fourth quarter of 2015, house prices rose by 0.4% in the euro area and by 0.7% in the EU in the first quarter of 2016.

House prices up by 3.0% in the euro area (Eurostat)

Previously: Crisisier And Crisisier

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A letter sent from the Central Statistics Office to Eurostat on July 25, 2015

Ken Foxe, in yesterday’s Sunday Times, reported:

“A reference to plans for the future privatisation of Irish Water was removed from a Eurostat letter explaining its classification of the water utility following a request from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The reference, which could have proved highly embarrassing to the government, was in a preliminary letter sent by the European statistics agency to the CSO last July.”

“Eurostat had, in its original letter, said the “privatisation of Irish Water is ultimately envisaged” although ownership of the infrastructure could only be changed by referendum. However, the CSO asked that the reference to privatisation be removed, according to correspondence obtained by The Sunday Times following a document request to Eurostat.”

Meanwhile, Senan Molony, in today’s Irish Daily Mail [not online], reports:

“Irish Water has declined to say how many households have cancelled their direct debits since the firm admitted fewer than half had paid the first round of bills in summer. Instead the utility is insisting new direct debits are being taken out all the time.”

“Anti-water charges activists, however, claim their sources in the company are maintaining that up to one fifth of direct debt mandates originally set up by householders are no longer functioning in relation to the second billing period.”

Asked about a suggestion that possibly 19 per cent of direct debit mandates have been cancelled, Irish Water acknowledged customers could ‘change their minds’ but would not confirm how many cancellations have been made.”

Related: Irish Water silence on cancelled water payments (Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner)

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From RTÉ One’s Six One last night

Environment Minister Alan Kelly, who is on holiday, spoke to Sharon Ní Bheoláin on RTE’s Six One last night via telephone, following the Eurostat/Irish Water/Exchequer balance sheet brouhaha.

In summary, Eurostat decided, ‘Irish Water is a non-market entity controlled by government and should be classified inside the government sector’ for five main reasons:

1. There has been ‘considerable government control’ over the body, and especially in regards to board appointments and ‘pricing parameters’.
2. Irish Water ‘merely re-organises previously non-market activity carried out by local government, with local government assets being transferred to Irish Water and a large majority of Irish Water staff remaining local government employees’.
3. There has been ‘significant and continuous government funding and support to Irish Water’.
4. A ‘lack of economically significant prices, concerning in particular the capping of fees for households’.
5. The so-called ‘50% test’ – where sales cover at least 50 per cent of the production costs over a sustained multi-year period – has not been met.

Further to this, Mr Kelly said Eurostat’s decision would make no impact at all.

Sharon Ní Bheoláin: “It’s evident that the Government has been putting a brave face on this all day long. They’re saying ‘nothing to be seen here’ but, to the man and woman watching at home, this is really the latest chapter in the omnishambles that has been Irish Water.”

Alan Kelly: “I wouldn’t agree with that at all Sharon. Straight up, this has no immediate impact because in the Spring Economic Statement, we provided for it to be on balance sheet. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t change our plans for investment, it doesn’t change the structure of Irish Water and, for that man and woman you speak about, it doesn’t change the charges system that’s in place.”

Ní Bheoláin: “No change from a budgetary point of view, minister. But a sea change from the Government’s position. It wasn’t so long ago that we heard the Tánaiste say that she was confident that the Government would pass this Eurostat test, only today, [Finance Minister] Michael Noonan saying, it was embarrassing. Now do you agree with Michael Noonan?”

Kelly: “I don’t agree with that statement. I haven’t even heard him say it to be honest, but I don’t agree with that statement. The simple fact of the matter is that there’s a number of issues which have been raised by Eurostat. The CSO will actually, I believe, be challenging some of the comments and some of the statements by Eurostat and, by the earliest opportunity, we will be looking to see this reviewed and I believe that, into the future, in 12 months time or so, this should be reviewed and looked at again and I believe it will be cause essentially I believe, in the future, it will be off balance sheet but in the short term…”

Ní Bheoláin: “Can I just…because the Eurostat…minister…”

Kelly: “This has no impact whatsoever.”

Ní Bheoláin: “The Eurostat statement is here and it’s quite stark. It talks about the lack of economically significant prices. It refers to the capping of fees, it’s quite clear that they are of the view that you priced water too cheaply.”

Kelly: “I’ve read their statement and I’ve read their statement in detail, I disagree fundamentally of course with some of the analysis and it’ll be up to us and working through the CSO to challenge that, into the future. They have said that, from a forward-looking point of view, they would look at this again and we’re going to ensure that that happens because, into the future, I believe they should be off-balance sheet but let me just repeat here: this doesn’t change anything. In the Spring Economic Statement, we provided for this. We were prudent as a Government and we provided for this in all our figures, in all our budgetary analysis, all the way out, that this would be on balance sheet…”

Ní Bheoláin: “I want to ask you minister, just before, because time is against us, what will you be bringing to the table when you do go back to Eurostat and ask them to reevaluate their position.”

Kelly: “Well essentially, I think there were a number of points which the Central Statistics Office which is an independent body, they have issues with a number of the comments that have been made by Eurostat and the analysis. Essentially, some of their comments in relation to structure, in relation to the funding model, and also in relation to the role of local authorities, I think they’re all issues that need to be re-looked at. But, ultimately, once Irish Water is bedded down in this country – and I don’t think there is another alternative – in fact I know there isn’t another alternative. Once this is bedded down, I believe this will be off balance sheet. But In the short-term, this decision doesn’t have any impact from a budgetary point of view whatsoever.”

Right so.

Watch/listen back here

Read the Eurostat’s decision here

Previously: Contains Impurities

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Irish Water protesters outside the GPO in Dublin on June 20

John Downing, of the Irish Independent, spoke to Keelin Shanley as she sat in for Seán O’Rourke on RTE Radio One this morning.

The interview followed this morning’s reports that Eurostat is expected to rule that the State funds spent on Irish Water will have to remain on the Exchequer balance sheet until at least 2017.

Ms Shanley said, despite attempts by RTE to have somebody from Government speak on the show, nobody was available.

During the interview, they discussed the strength of the anti-water charges movement…

Keelin Shanley: “You would have to say politically: this is messy for them [Government], they’ve already had an awful lot of controversy around water charges. The movement did seem to be dying down, the anti-water charges movement, a little. How big a political fiasco is this for them?”

John Downing: “I believe it has that the anti-water charge movement was losing impetus and I think the Government were confident that it would be less of an election issue. This brings it right back. However, the timing of this news coming out is interesting: people going, already on holidays, people coming back from holidays, I think the Government will be hoping that it won’t be as noticeable as it might if it had emerged in September or October but it is very difficult for them and, at all events, we are now heading right into the teeth of an election campaign.”

Shanley: “I suppose the problem with this decision is that it seems to imply incompetence, that the Government thought the decision would go in another direction, you know, rather than implying that you might disagree with the ideology, the basic idea of paying for water, it says something about the way in which they’re working.”

Downing: “I believe so and I believe there was a point where, of all things, all the products, all the nasty products of austerity, water charges, for the bulk of middle Ireland was seen as reasonable and if we could see improved service and so on that people could have lived with it. I think, when you go back again to the point about the growth errors made by Irish Water, they have completely very, very seriously damaged that whole principle and, on that basis, at the end, as you say, it does, voters are entitled to say that this reflects on the competence of Government.”

Listen back here

Previously: Balance Sheet Hits The Fan

Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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Screenshots from transcripts of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Joan Burton speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on March 25, 2015 and November 20, 2014 respectively

It is being reported this morning that Eurostat will rule that the State funds spent on Irish Water will have to remain on the Exchequer balance sheet until at least 2017.

Sarah Bardon and Cliff Taylor report:

“The ruling on the so-called market corporation test – to decide whether Irish Water is sufficiently independent of the exchequer to remain off the State balance sheet – is expected to be detailed by the European agency today.”

“It will say that Irish Water must remain on the State’s balance sheet, for the moment at least, meaning the money spent on it will count towards the annual deficit and national debt as measured for EU targets.”

“The ruling will come as a surprise, following what is understood to have been a strong recommendation from the Central Statistics Office in Ireland that Irish Water qualify as a market corporation.”

“The reasons for the Eurostat ruling are not clear, but are likely to centre, in part at least, on the €100 annual grant that the Government agreed to pay to households that signed up for Irish Water.”

Irish Water must stay on State balance sheet, EU says (Irish Times)

Pics of Oireachtas transcript sections via Colette Browne



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Screengrab from new Eurostat study

The Irish Times reports:

“The pay gap between men and women in Ireland has widened in recent years, with women earning 14.4 per cent less than men for their work, most recent figures show.”

“Data from Eurostat, the European Union’s official statistics body, reveal women earned almost a sixth less per hour than men in 2012, up from 12.6 per cent in 2008.”

There you go now.

Pay gap between men and women in Ireland up to 14.4% (Irish Times)