Tag Archives: Ireland

Trade Commissioner Hogan resigns

“This evening I have tendered my resignation as EU Trade Commissioner to the President of the EU Commission, Dr Ursula von der Leyen”, reads the letter of resignation of Phil Hogan, the Irish politician, serving as the EU Trade Commissioner. The decision came amid controversy over breakig the strick sanitary rules during his visit to Ireland. He has been criticised for participating in a gala dinner, without considering the COVID-19 sanitariy measures, attending an event organised for 82 people celebrating golf club anniversary, which caused indignation of his compatriots.

“It was becoming increasingly clear that the controversy concerning my recent visit to Ireland was becoming a distraction from my work as an EU Commissioner and would undermine my work in the key months ahead.

“I deeply regret that my trip to Ireland – the country that I have been so proud to represent as a public servant for most of my adult life – caused such concern, unease and upset. I have always tried to comply with all relevant COVID-19 Regulations in Ireland and had understood that I had met with all relevant public health Guidelines, particularly following confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test. I reiterate my heartfelt apology to the Irish people for the mistakes I made during my visit. The Irish people have made incredible efforts to contain the coronavirus, and the European Commission will continue to support you, and all EU Member States, in defeating this terrible pandemic.

“Let me say from the heart that I fully appreciate and recognise the challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to our society and the global economy. As European Trade Commissioner, I have been at the frontline of the European Union’s response to the crisis.

“I recognise and appreciate the devastating impact of Covid-19 on individuals and families, and I fully understand their sense of hurt and anger when they feel that those in public service do not meet the standards expected of them. It is important to state that I did not break any law. As a public representative I should have been more rigorous in my adherence to the Covid regulations.

“It has been the honour of my life to serve as European Commissioner, first in Agriculture and Rural Development and then in Trade. I believe the project of European Union is our shared continent’s crowning achievement: a force for peace and prosperity the likes of which the world has never seen. I also believe that Ireland’s destiny is deeply European, and that our small, proud, open nation will continue to play an inspiring and proactive role at the heart of the EU.

“I made a lifelong commitment to public service, throughout the course of my almost 40-year political career, as a member of the Local Authority, Oireachtas, Minister and two terms as European Commissioner .I am proud of my record and achievements as European Commissioner and I hope history will judge them favourably, when the final assessment is made.

“I remain convinced that at a time when the global economy faces significant challenges and turbulences, the importance of the EU as a global leader remains paramount. It has been my priority as EU Trade Commissioner to strengthen this global leadership role in trade, and to boost Europe’s capacity to protect itself from unfair trading practices. The EU must remain at the heart of the multilateral system of open, fair and rules-based trade, and continue pursuing a positive reform agenda.

“Brexit also represents a significant challenge for the EU and for Ireland in particular for which I have been centrally involved from the outset. I hope that the EU Member States, with Ireland at their vanguard, and the UK, can overcome their differences and work together to reach a fair, mutually beneficial and sustainable trade deal. EU and UK citizens and businesses deserve nothing less.

“I would like to thank President von der Leyen, my fellow Commissioners, Council members and MEPs for their support and encouragement since my appointment as EU Trade Commissioner. I would also like to thank my Cabinet, team and family for their support”.

Paschal Donohoe new Eurogroup president

The Eurogroup today elected Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform of Ireland, as President of the Eurogroup, in line with Protocol 14 of the EU treaties.

The new President will take office as of 13 July 2020 and will serve a two and a half year term.

The first Eurogroup meeting under Paschal Donohoe’s presidency is currently planned for 11 September 2020.

Paschal Donohoe was appointed Minister for Finance of Ireland in June 2017.

The Eurogroup is an informal body where ministers of euro area member states discuss matters of common concern in relation to sharing the euro as the single currency. It focuses in particular on the coordination of economic policies. It usually meets once a month, on the eve of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting.

Fine Gael looking for coalition

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said a coalition between his center-right Fine Gael party and left-wing nationalists Sinn Fein is not an option as the parties’ policies are “not compatible”. (Image: archive)

“For us coalition with Sinn Fein is not an option, but we are willing to talk to other parties,” Varadkar told journalists in Dublin, speaking following Saturday’s election. The head of rival center-right party Fianna Fail earlier on February 9 declined to rule out a coalition with Sinn Fein.

Ireland-UK free-trade possible

A new free-trade deal between the UK and the European Union by the end of 2020 is possible if it does not deviate significantly from current trading terms, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said. 

“In terms of negotiating a trade agreement before December 2020, I think that is difficult but not impossible” if Britain ratifies its EU withdrawal agreement by its current Jan. 31 deadline, Varadkar told press in Dublin, Reuters news agency reports.

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“The more like the status quo, the quicker it will be,” Varadkar said, but added that ratification by 27 member states may not be possible by the end of 2020, the scheduled end of a proposed Brexit transition phase.

Barnier waits for UK proposals

European Union top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (pictured) said that the UK has yet to provide “legal and operational” proposals that could lead out of Brexit deadlock.

“We are still ready to work on any new legal and operational proposal from the UK,” Barnier said. He aslo added Tweet to his micro blog, underlining that there is a need of legally operative solution in the Withdrawal Agreement  to address the problems created by Brexit on island of Ireland.  He aslo added that the EU27 are firmly united. Barnier  underlined importance of avoiding hard border, protection of Good Friday Agreement, all-island economy & integrity of Single Market.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Tanaiste Simon Coveney,  said “significant gaps” remain between the two sides.

However, he added that Barnier and his team are “available 24/7 to negotiate to try and get a deal done”.

Image: Berlaymont building, European Commission

Varadkar: no follow up Brexit talks

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar reiterated that the European Union will not reopen the talks on Withdrawal agreement it has concluded with the UK, neither will it remove the Northern Ireland border “backstop” clause. (Image: archive).

Anything a (new) British prime minister has to say in relation to resolving the Brexit impasse will get a fair hearing from me and from everyone in the European Union,” Varadkar said at a news conference at a meeting of the British-Irish Council in Manchester, on June 28.

“At the same time, it needs to be understood that we mean what we say, and that is that the withdrawal agreement won’t be reopened, without a backstop there will be no transition period but we are willing to examine the joint political declaration and make amendments to that enables us to proceed to an orderly Brexit with a guarantee that there will be no hard border,” he underlined.

Dublin Greens remarkable rise

The Green party is in contention to win three Members of European Parliament (MEP) seats in Ireland’s European elections after an official exit poll said its three candidates are all on course for Brussels success.

The sorting of votes in the European and Local Elections has been underway since 9am this morning.

The European election counts for Ireland’s three constituencies will not start until tomorrow morning.

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In his first interview after the exit poll predictions, the party’s leader, Eamon Ryan, says a ‘green wave’ in Ireland is reflecting what is happening in other European countries.

“There is a green wave of public consciousness in Ireland and we’ve been waiting for it for a long time,” said Mr Ryan.

EU prepares transport for no-deal Brexit

The EU is ensuring continuity of train services between the EU (France and Ireland) and the United Kingdom in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. The Council today adopted a regulation on a temporary extension of the validity of certain authorisations, certificates and licences that are needed to run the services. The aim of this extension is to allow the parties concerned to conclude the necessary agreements and take any other measures to avoid disruption, taking into account the status of the UK as a non-EU country.”

This is the last Brexit contingency regulation to be adopted in the field of transport. Five other Brexit-related regulations in the area of transport were adopted by the Council (General Affairs) on 19 March. All these legal acts will be signed by representatives of the Council and the Parliament on 25 March and subsequently published in the EU Official Journal.”

Brussels deaf to May’s attempts to save deal

Prime Minister Theresa May will address her own political family members of parliament (MPs) with a request to send a message to Brussels informing they would support her Brexit deal if a plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland is replaced. (Image: Berlaymont).

 

May attempts to seal bilateral Irish deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May intends to seal a bilateral treaty with the Irish government as a tool to remove the so-called “backstop” arrangement from Article 50 deal with the European Union, according to media reports.

May thought a deal with Ireland would remove the opposition to her Brexit plan from the Democratic Unionist Party that supports  her minority government and from discontent pro hard Brexit MPs in Conservative Party, the Sunday Times reported.

 

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