Tag Archives: European Commission

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.

FIGHT!

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

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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.

Meanwhile…

No derogation from water charges, Commission says (RTÉ)

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

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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.

FIGHT!

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

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

Uisce

RTÉ reports:

The European Commission has declared that Ireland does not enjoy an exemption from the obligation under EU law for a system of water charges.

The confirmation is highly likely to severely limit the new minority Government’s discretion to scrap water charges.

Furthermore, according to informed sources, Ireland could face a procedure in the coming months that could lead to daily fines due to the Government’s breach of EU law.

The European Commission has said that the earlier “flexibility” on water charges afforded to Ireland no longer applies.

The confirmation comes in the form of a written response to Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan following a parliamentary question.

Meanwhile…

More as we get it.

Ireland not exempt from water charges – European Commission (RTE)

Related: Irish Water ‘plucked €100m abolition figure from the air’ (Irish Times)

Earlier: A Beaten Docket

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Acting agriculture minister Simon Coveney at the Ploughing Championships in Stradbally, Co Laois in 2014

 

Seán McCárthaigh in The Times Ireland edition reports:

Taxpayers have had to pick up an EU bill of almost €70 million in overpayments to Irish farmers mainly because the Department of Agriculture failed to accurately validate claims.

The farmers have been allowed to keep the money they were wrongly paid and the state has reimbursed the European Union through central funds.

The department claimed that high-resolution aerial photography was not available before 2012 to accurately measure whether farmers were submitting true assessments of their land holdings.

Only €4 million has been recouped from individual farmers as Simon Coveney, the agriculture minister, expressed his “clear preference” that the repayments should be funded through the exchequer.

Documents obtained by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act provide the full details of how the European Commission sought the return of €181 million in May 2014 for payments made between 2008 and 2014.

The department claimed that the figure should only be €31.1 million, but reached an agreement last November to pay back €68.9 million.

Seems legit.

Taxpayer hit with €70m bill for overpaid farmers (The Times)

Pic: Random Irish Photo

Thanks Richard

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House prices up by 2.9% in the euro area (Eurostat)

report

Could do a lot better.

‘Macroeconomic’ reports for the EU and the Member States are prepared three times a year by the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN).

This (above) is a summation of the Winter ‘semester’.

Now, show it to your father.

How about a forecast?

forecastHmm.

EU Economic Situation

Thanks DG ECFin

IrishWater_Mark_Colour_border

This morning, RTE reports that Irish Water will invest almost €1.8billion in water and waste treatment improvements over the next three years and that billions more will be spent over the following five or six years.

It reports:

“The investment, which is substantially more than the indicative funding available to the utility, will deliver urgently needed improvements in drinking water quality, leakage, water availability, and waste water compliance.

Five months after being set up by the Government Irish Water is now taking control, reprioritizing, and ramping up the water infrastructure programmes of our 34 local authorities.”

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon Green Party local candidate for Cork South West, Mick Murphy, lodged a letter with the Petition Section of the European Commission, based at the European Union House on Dawson Street in Dublin, asking it to investigate the establishment of Irish Water.

He has since received a response from the European Commission asking whether he wishes his complaint to go the European Commission or directly to the EU Parliament. After getting legal advice, Mr Murphy has asked that his complaint be addressed by the EU Parliament.

This was Mr Murphy’s letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to petition the European Commission to investigate the handing over of strategic infrastructure by the Irish government that was heavily funded by European Union funds to a private company that is a monopoly and engages in price fixing by the very fact that no competition to this company exists in the Irish market.

The Minister of Environment Community & Local Government in Ireland [Phil Hogan] made provision this year for local authorities all over Ireland to hand over strategic infrastructure including water treatment plants, water pumping stations and foul water treatment plants to a private company known as ‘Irish Water’ at no cost to the company.

This infrastructure is worth in excess of a billion euro and was heavily funded by the European Union over the past number of decades.

I am of the opinion that to use such funding from the European Union either through direct cash funding, or indirect funding through the handing over of assets is in breach of European Union funding rules and is also in breach of EU Competition Laws that prevent EU funding going towards the establishment of a market monopoly, or support for same.

I would be obliged if you could investigate this matter by way of petition?

Yours sincerely,

Mick Murphy,
Green Party,
Cork City South West.

Anyone?

Irish Water to invest €1.8 billion in water and waste treatment (RTE)

Previously: How Much?

Thicker Than Uisce