Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs

Developments at European Union Level: Commissioner Mairead McGuinness

Ms Mairead McGuinness:

I am thanking Ms Deirdre O'Hea for this, my very able assistant who I was able to steal from the Parliament to the Commission because of her long experience.

There are colleagues on the committee who are also members of COSAC. I would have engaged with national parliamentarians at meetings of COSAC. It is really important. I cannot stress that enough and I think members realise the importance of the informal networks it helps to create. Certainly, in my work in the Parliament, I was very conscious of a sense sometimes among national parliamentarians that they did not have enough access to the European decision-making process. I hope that my engagement this morning shows that this is not the case. The committee has met with other colleagues and will meet with more in the future. We want the engagement of national parliaments. In fact, Europe cannot grow without the engagement of national parliaments. They have the power to make it prosper or to weaken it, depending on how national parliaments view the European Union. I know that the committee, while often critical, still believes in the concept of a united Europe, which is better not just for Irish citizens but for all European citizens.