Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 15 July 2021
Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs
Developments at European Union Level: Commissioner Mairead McGuinness
The Commissioner then went on to talk about the Conference on the Future of Europe a short time ago. I reiterate the importance of that. Brexit changed everything in that a member state left the European Union and then Covid-19 changed everything in many respects. The conference is timely. I take the point Ireland should not get consumed by Brexit, albeit terribly important to us as it is, in that there are many other developments taking place in the EU that we need to be engaging in. The Government was reported to have said it is not in favour of treaty change in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe. I did question the Taoiseach in the Dáil on that and he said no, what was reported in the newspapers was a position paper or whatever and the Government is open to treaty change if that transpires to be necessary. Is the Commission neutral on the question of treaty change and the conference on Europe, is it steering in a different direction, or is there a view we need new competencies as regards the EU? What role does the Commission have in co-ordinating the whole thing? Is it proactively trying to change Europe as a Commission or is it neutral in this process?