How competitive is the Irish economy?

A new international competitiveness report says that Europe is a divided continent...

Ireland has moved up one place to 23rd in the World Economic Forum’s annual competitiveness report.

According to the report the most problematic factors when doing business in Ireland are an inadequate supply of infrastructure, our tax rates, and access to finance.

Ireland is strongest in the 'health and primary education' and 'technological readiness' pillars.

The report highlights a significant gap in innovation between Northern and Western European countries - and the rest of the continent.

The WEF says that while European economies continue to dominate the top ten, there remains no end in sight for the region’s persisting north-south divide. Spain improves by one point climbing to 32, however Italy drops back one place to 44 and Greece reverses 5 places to 86. France, the Eurozone’s second largest economy, climbs one place to 21.

Switzerland tops the index for the eighth year in a row - it’s followed by Singapor, the US, and the Netherlands.

"Declining openness in the global economy is harming competitiveness and making it harder for leaders to drive sustainable, inclusive growth," said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

The report adds that improving underlying competitiveness is crucial as the world tries to shake off the looming threat of deflation. It comments that measures like quantitative easing cannot provide stimulation in countries with low competitiveness scores.