Newsletter from Nessa Childers bringing you a summary of some of the big issues facing Irish MEPs in Strasbourg and Brussels.
Crossing the line: What next for Irish & UK relations?
Brexit will dominate the Commission’s work once the UK trigger the formal leave process, and I wrote this article for the Government Gazette on the challenges facing Ireland.
What we know for sure is that the economic and trade implications for Ireland and the UK will be a critical point – and we need clarity for those Irish citizens living and working in the UK, and we need clarity on how we are going to manage the border with N.Ireland. A majority vote in the European Parliament will be required to approve the final Brexit deal.
TTIP and CETA
These two trade deals between the EU, US and Canada continue to cause concern. In August a Red C public opinion poll, carried out in Ireland, showed that 74% of people surveyed wanted a referendum on the trade dedtails. The poll was commissioned by Uplift (a campaigning organisation), with support from trade union Unite. The talks around CETA are now completed, and will be voted on by MEPs end of this year, or early next year. Then each member state will be required to ratify.
For a re-cap on the state of play please follow this link.
The ruling by the European Commission to force Apple to pay €13 billion to the Irish government in taxes is a sign that Ireland’s corporate tax model may not be sustainable for much longer. Last June I was the only Irish MEP to vote for stronger regulations to ensure that big corporations pay the fair share of tax across Europe.
My blog ‘No good reputation without taxation’ can be read here.
EU Military Policy
Following Britain’s vote to leave, an opportunity has arisen to allow greater military co-operation across the EU, including the setting up of a permanent European military headquarters. Britain had always strongly resisted such a move. Greater cooperation on EU defence was also identified by European Commission President Juncker in his State of the Union address to Parliament last month.
Ireland is prohibited from taking part in a common defence policy due to a clause in our constitution and our neutral status is recognised in the Irish protocol in the Lisbon Treaty. Nevertheless, such a move will have an impact on EU spending, policy and international relations, all of which will involve votes in the parliament.
Refugee and migration crisis
Strengthening EU borders and finding a solution to the migration crisis are among EU citizens’ top concerns a recent survey found. But we are still nowhere near agreeing a humanitarian and workable refugee plan. Although there has been an agreed set of proposals on stronger border security. While migration and asylum are member state responsibilities, MEPs have to agree any budget decision around border security and assistance for refugee centres. This poster summarises the key policy points adopted by the parliament in April 2016.
#newsocracy – safeguarding journalism and exploring owner influence
I was very pleased to host a conference in June which looked at media diversity and ownership in both online and traditional print media.
Two pieces of research were launched on the day – one about the impact of social media on news rooms, and the other on the influence of major shareholders on news content.
To read the results of both pieces of research please follow this link #newsocracy
The conference was funded by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament – and held in partnership with FUJO (The Institute for Future Media and Journalism), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, and The European Federation of Journalists. My thanks also to the great line up of speakers and chairpersons.