Opening Bell: Voters don't feel 'the recovery' in their pockets, eastern countries oppose UK-EU reforms, oil's down again

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The latest in a series of Newstalk/Red C polls ahead of this month’s general election has found that 56% of adults have not felt the effects of the economic recovery personally while just 44% agree that the upturn has benefited them. 

Almost four in five respondents believe that the recovery is on a two-tier basis, being felt more by some and not others. However, more optimistically the majority of the population (61%) believe that economic growth is here to stay for the next five years at least.

From a budgetary point of view, 36% feel that the Government should focus expenditure on public services while 20% think the focus should be on reducing the national debt. 33% of respondents are of the opinion that the Universal Social Charge should be abolished with only 10% believing that the focus should be on further tax cuts.

More findings from the in-depth study can be found here.


David Cameron faces another day of frantic negotiations to secure a new deal for the UK at tomorrow's meeting of EU leaders.

The British Prime Minister has been warned he will have to go all out to win over eastern European leaders.

Downing Street conceded there "are still details to be nailed down" to win an agreement this week.

But it insisted Mr Cameron's talks with key figures in Brussels on Tuesday had been "useful."

The Prime Minister was told he has an "extra mile" to go to persuade the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to back his proposed reforms.


Brent oil prices slid by 3% yesterday after experiencing an early increase when Saudi Arabia and Russia announced a deal to freeze their output levels.

Russian Energy Minster Alexander Novak said that any cut in oil production in Russia would be likely to be dependent on the involvement of more countries. The absence of Iran from the negotiating table has undermined the credibility of the deal.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Eugen Weinberg head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt said, "If Iran and Iraq are not a part of the agreement, it’s not worth much - and even then there is still a question of compliance."

Iran ruled out any cuts in production when OPEC last met in December, the country has pledged to increase production.

Negotiations could be complicated by a recent rift between Iran and Saudi Arabia, in early January the beheading of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia led to the cutting of diplomatic ties between the countries.


Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is in the centre of an investigation of a funding probe.

Legal proceedings are being brought against Sarkozy, 61, in relation to massive over-spending during his campaign's 2012 run, which ultimately ended in an unsuccessful result.

Sarkozy had been in talks of running again for the Presidency in the 2017 elections, but accusations that his 2012 campaign costs were more than twice the legal limit may dampen those hopes.

He was questioned all day today by French magistrates, before being informed he was under official investigation.

Sarkozy claims he was not involved in the details of his campaign's finances and has denied knowledge of the overspending.