Ireland’s EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has confirmed his candidacy to be the next head of the World Trade Organisation.
And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint…
Speaking in Brussels Mr Hogan said: “I’m exploring the option of being a candidate for the director general of the WTO [World Trade Organisation]
“I think there’s an important amount of work to be done to reform the organisation, to make it more effective and efficient, but also to deal with many of the important trade issues that are bedevilling the international community now arising from Covid-19,” he said.
EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan confirms he is considering putting his name forward as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, meaning the incoming Irish government could find itself with a key European vacancy to fill just as the cabinet jobs are being handed out
The European Commission has been urged not to soften its stance on EU rules that would outlaw the export of cyber surveillance tools to despotic regimes worldwide, amid ongoing negotiations between the European Council and Parliament on the new measures.
A coalition of EU human rights organisations have penned a letter to European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan, imploring him not to backtrack on the Commission’s original position on the regulation on dual-use goods, which aims to clamp down on exports that can be used in the surveillance of citizens in countries with less than democratic regimes.
Euro zone finance ministers reached a compromise on Thursday to break days of stalemate over how to respond to an economic downturn that threatens to be the worst since the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Under the deal, which amounts to €500 billionin a range of tools, states can borrow from the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund to finance spending needed to overcome the crisis.
…But it dashed the hopes of Italy, Ireland, Spain and six other member states that had called for eurobonds to bring down borrowing costs and send a signal of unity as the continent confronts a health crisis that threatens to become an economic disaster.
Meanwhile, RTÉ reports:
He said it is very possible that Ireland will need to access funds from the European Investment Bank to help fund companies and will consider whether to access the programme to help fund wage subsidy schemes.
It is hoped that it will not need to use the fund from the European Stability Mechanism, he [Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe] added.
He said a new Government in Ireland must have a stable majority but must reflect the hopes and fears of the electorate when they voted.
President of the European Council Charles Michel and EU Secretary General of the EU Council Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen during a video conference with EU leaders yesterday
For ordinary people, frightened for their health, the safety of their loved ones, worrying about their rent and feeding their family after businesses shut down, the idea that Europe’s leaders spent six hours on Thursday night, squabbling over the wording of their summit conclusions in order to defer a key decision over coronavirus funds, will be incomprehensible.
Spain and Italy – ravaged by the effects of the virus on their populations and their limited public finances – were deeply disappointed. Italy was already one of the EU’s most Eurosceptic member states before Covid-19 hit.
Italian Twitter was littered with expletives on Thursday – and those were just the posts from politicians.
Now, its economy is at an enforced standstill in an effort to break the back of the epidemic. But its troubles won’t end when the virus has run its course. Given the prominence of tourism in the Italian economy (13 percent of Italy’s GDP versus 8.6 percent of Germany’s), the country faces a much harder long-term headwind to return to prosperity than many other EU states.
These would be daunting problems for a country with sovereign control of its currency. But Italy, as a Eurozone member, does not have any such control.
The Italian state cannot print money to sustain its citizenry while the economy is in lockdown. It has to beg Brussels for permission to spend — and Europe’s finance ministers are bickering about the terms under which such spending would be permitted in much the same manner that America’s senators have been.
In an internal mail seen by EURACTIV, the European Defence Agency (EDA) confirmed that one of its staff members has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and it therefore cancelled all meetings to be held at its premises until 13 March as a precautionary measure.
“I’m very concerned at what I see in Ireland the moment. There’s a lot of complacency in the system. Commentators and the media and the public generally don’t seem to realise we’re starting the most difficult part of the negotiations.
It was easy enough to get some compromises in phase one, relative to the interests of every member state, and the interests now of the UK with an 80 seat majority.
If things had gone wrong in the first part of the negotiations, you can consider in the context of a general election what this would have meant for manifestos in terms of income, in terms of wages, in terms of jobs, the possible economic rupture in terms of a crash out Brexit.
This this is still on the agenda,
The real cut off point is the 31 December 2020, not 31 January. So, people should come out of their slumber is some way and wake up to the reality that we’re in the intensive phase of the negotiations and in the more risky part.”