Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Post-European Council: Statements
A wide range of issues was discussed at the European Council meeting, including Brexit, the multi-annual financial framework, the Single Market, migration, external relations, economic and monetary union, climate change, security and defence, disinformation - which I understand the Minister of State will address - and the fight against racism and xenophobia. It was a comprehensive agenda.
There are 100 days to go to Brexit. The European Commission has published its no-deal contingency action plan for 14 specific sectors, including citizens' rights, financial services, transport, climate policy, the PEACE programme, which is worth €2 billion to this country, customs, and the export of goods. All of this will involve proposals to adapt EU law. From the Irish point of view, 45 legislative measures have been considered. I join other Deputies in requesting that the Oireachtas be given a priority in the discussions about these legislative matters. We need to be briefed as soon as possible because we will have a very busy new year, one way or another. The Oireachtas should be treated with respect in connection with these legislative measures, whether they are primary or secondary legislation.
On strengthening economic and monetary union reform or EMU reform as it is known, I note that two decisions were made in respect of the banking single resolution fund. These were to ensure defaults can be better dealt with and to give stronger powers to the European Stability Mechanism for EU bailouts. I also note that there are plans for stabilisation and competitiveness funds. What are the plans for a eurozone budget? What is the Irish position on this controversial proposal? What alliances is the Government forging in the European Union on the Irish position?
On migration, I understand seven issues were discussed at the European Council meeting.
Negotiations are continuing on the European border and coastguard proposal as well as on the common European asylum system, the so-called Dublin regulation. The Taoiseach today stated that no real progress has been made on reform of the Dublin regulation. Why is that the case? Is it because a package of measures was considered and, therefore, no agreement was possible? Migration is a controversial issue. Some EU states are opposed to mandatory quotas. It is clear that the Dublin regulation is not fit for purpose. Will the Minister of State please outline the issues at stake in this regard and why progress is not being made?