Tag Archives: European Commission

Andrew McDowell and Mairead McGuinness

This afternoon.

Mairead so.


Pants on fire, quite frankly.

Previously: May The Best Woman Win

Look, no strings.

This evening.

Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ahead of a meeting to discuss Brexit, climate issues and negotiations on the EU’s budget for 2021-2027.

EU chief vows ‘day and night’ talks on post-Brexit trade deal (RTÉ)

Leah Farrell/RollingNews

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has been nominated by EU leaders to replace Jean-Claude ‘Drunker’ Juncker as European Commission President. EU leaders will nominate their choice for President of the European Parliament today

Soberer than the last boss.



Who is Ursula von der Leyen, the surprise compromise as European Commission president? (DW)

Thanks John Gallen

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is among nine European People’s Party contenders named by Politico.eu as outside chances for the post of European Commission President

Ronan writes:

Will do wonders for his ego…

9 (more) center-right candidates for Commission chief (Politico.eu)


RTÉ reports:

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is flattered by media reports suggesting he could become head of the European Union’s executive, but insisted he was not seeking a career change.

Mr Varadkar said: “I’m flattered to be considered for the position of EU Commission President, but I have a job, it’s as Taoiseach of Ireland.

“I’m loving the job, I’m only getting started I hope, so I’ve no plans for a career change at this stage.

Taoiseach ‘flattered’ by EU job reports, but says no plans for career change (RTE)

Ah here.

Autumn 2018 Economic Forecast (European Commission)

Patrick Street, Cork city

Roisin Burke, in the Evening Echo, reports:

Cork has been rated the most culturally vibrant city in Europe, according to a report carried out by the European Commission.

The EU report states that Cork obtained the maximum score for concerts/shows and cinema attendance which correspond to around 12 concerts per 100,000 inhabitants and 10,700 cinema tickets sold for every 1,000 inhabitants.

The city was also named the best small city in Europe for ‘business friendliness’ by the Financial Times magazine, which ranked Cork as one of the overall top 25 European Cities of the Future 2018/19.


Cork is the most culturally vibrant city in EU (Evening Echo)

Pic: Esq

Apple’s European headquarters in Cork

Bloomberg reports:

Ireland is being sued by the European Union authorities for failing to collect a year-old bill of as much as 13 billion euros ($15.3 billion) from Apple Inc. in a move that risks escalating tensions over the nation’s tax policies.

The European Commission on Wednesday referred Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recoup the Apple bill…

…The dispute is part of a two-year-old crackdown by regulators on questionable tax deals — often involving American tech companies — throughout the EU. On Wednesday, Vestager also ordered Amazon.com Inc. to pay 250 million euros ($294 million) plus interest in back taxes to Luxembourg.

In the Irish case, until the money is recovered, Apple continues to get an illegal advantage, Vestager said.

EU sues Ireland over Apple bill as tax tensions flare up (Bloomberg)

Previously: The €13billion Apple Tax Bill

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 12.06.36

Written response to a question put forward by Independent MEP Marian Harkin seeking confirmation about the Water Framework Directive and water charges in Ireland

RTÉ reports:

The European Commission has confirmed that it does not believe Ireland has a derogation from water charges under a key European Union directive.

The Commission has said that it considers the application of water charges as qualifying as Ireland’s so-called “established practice” under the Water Framework Directive.

The clarification by the Commission increases the likelihood that it could take action against the Irish Government if it abandons water charges.

In a written statement to Irish MEP Marian Harkin, the Commission says that Ireland cannot “revert to any previous practice” as to how it complies with the Water Framework Directive.

The Commission’s response confirms a report broadcast by RTÉ News on 31 May.


No derogation from water charges, Commission says (RTÉ)

Previously: ‘I’m Saying That RTÉ’s Report Is Not Balanced’

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.43.24

The European Commission’s response to Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan about Ireland and the water framework directive

The European Commission has never made any official statements asserting that Ireland abolishing direct water charges would be in breach of the water framework directive.

The water framework directive, which was adopted in 2000, states that all EU member states may derogate from the water pricing obligations contained within the directive.

In a recent response to a written question submitted by Lynn Boylan, the European Commission confirmed that this derogation still exists. Yes, the response also stated that if “established practice” was a direct water charge then the flexibility to use the derogation would not apply, but here we come to the crux of the matter – “established practice”.

The European Commission is already on record as stating that it considers “established practices” to be those practices which were “an established practice at the time of adoption of the directive”. This directive was adopted on October 23rd, 2000, and transposed into Irish law in 2003, when it is beyond doubt that Ireland used general taxation as its established practice.

Additionally, since direct water charges were introduced in Ireland only in the last year and – far more significantly – since those charges have been rejected by the people, charging directly for water is not the established practice in Ireland.

Furthermore, in a 2014 landmark case on EU water recovery rules, the European Court of Justice found in favour of Germany, after the European Commission tried unsuccessfully to take that state to court for, in its opinion, failing to fulfil its water framework directive obligations. The judgment conclusively stated that it cannot be inferred that the absence of pricing for water service activities will necessarily jeopardise the attainment of the water framework directive.

As recently as January 2016, more than one year after the establishment of Irish Water, in a response to a written question which asked if Ireland would be in breach of the water framework directive if water charges were dropped, the European Commission simply stated that the second river basin management plans would be assessed against the requirements of the directive. Anything else is simply conjecture.

The European Commission has also confirmed in emails to Lynn Boylan and Marian Harkin that if Ireland would like to avail of Article 9.4 (the derogation) then it should submit that request in its second river basin management plan with justification. This second river basin management plan is now not due to be submitted until 2017, with plenty of time for Ireland to establish that derogation.

It is beyond doubt then that if the Irish Government so wishes, it can still use the derogation and justify its use in its river basin management plans, as has been done and is still being done by so many other European regions and countries.

In light of all the above, it is clear that certain commentators and politicians have distorted the debate by misconstruing or embellishing what the European Commission has put on record regarding the derogation from water pricing in the water framework directive.

Worse, it is also clear that many of those same politicians are deliberately twisting this clear, unequivocal situation and using it as an excuse not to avail of the derogation, which gives the Irish Government the final say in deciding on water charges.

Lynn Boylan MEP
Martina Anderson MEP
Matt Carthy MEP
Liadh Ní Riada MEP
Luke Ming Flanagan MEP
Nesss Childers MEP
Marian Harkin MEP.


The European Commission, Ireland and water charges (The Irish Times letters page)

Previously: ‘I’m Saying That RTÉ’s Report Is Not Balanced’