Three Dublin SMEs have won EU grants of €50,000 each, continuing the excellent track-record of Irish universities and SMEs at winning funding from Europe's Research Fund.
Competition for Horizon 2020 cash is fierce but Ireland consistently out-performs other countries relative to our size. Today's announcement is confirmation that this trend is continuing.
The European Commission has today proposed tough new transparency rules for intermediaries - such as tax advisors, accountants, banks and lawyers - who design and promote tax planning schemes for their clients.
Recent media leaks such as the Panama Papers have exposed how some intermediaries actively assist companies and individuals to escape taxation, usually through complex cross-border schemes. Today's proposal aims to tackle such aggressive tax planning by increasing scrutiny around the previously-unseen activities of tax planners and advisers.
Cavan native Patricia Reilly has been appointed to a senior role EU role. A seasoned Brussels player, Ms Reilly now becomes Deputy Chief of Staff (or Deputy Chef de Cabinet) for EU Commissioner for Education Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics. Patricia will be guiding EU policy on Higher Education and Schools and will have a key role in negotiating with the European Parliament and the Council. Patricia's appointment is in the tradition of prominent roles for the Irish at EU level with remarkable success for Irish nationals over the years, relative to their numbers.
Every year, two tonnes of builders' waste is generated for each man woman and child in the EU, more waste than almost any other sector in the economy.
The European Commission says thousands of quality jobs can be created and vast sums saved on disposal using best practice on waste separation, logistics and energy recovery.
New Eurostat figures show Irish prices for a broad cross-section of consumer goods and services were the second highest in the EU, coming in at 125% of EU average in 2016. With the exception of consumer electronics, Ireland was above the EU average for all the price categories surveyed.
Ireland was highest in the EU for alcoholic beverages and tobacco (175% of the EU average), third highest for "personal transport equipment" i.e. cars, motor-bikes and bicycles (111% of EU average), fourth highest for restaurants and hotels and fifth highest for food and non-alcoholic drinks (both 120% of EU average).
The following joint statement has been issued by the Department for Exiting the European Union and the European Commission:
"Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, and David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, agreed today to launch Article 50 negotiations on Monday, 19 June."
Today the Commission is taking further steps to drive forward the Capital Markets Union (CMU), a pivotal project of the Juncker Commission to boost jobs and growth in Europe.
After almost two years since the launch of the CMU Action Plan, the Commission is presenting today a number of important new initiatives to ensure that this reform programme remains fit for purpose.
The EU's scientific research fund has just announced funding for three small Irish companies with big ideas to get to market.
- SwiftComply TopCo Ltd of Dublin has developed a technology marketplace for hospitality compliance services that integrates with public sector authorities and relieves the burden of regulation for businesses
- Valitacell Ltd of Dublin has created a disruptive analytical technology which enables the biopharmaceutical industry to manufacture drugs faster, cheaper and with greater regulatory confidence.
- DiaNia Technologies Ltd of Galway has developed an innovative, disruptive extrusion technology applicable across a range of polymer resins, which can change the surface of a catheter without affecting core device properties.
The Commission today announced its plans for coordinated EU Defence spending, controlled by the Member States, who would take part on a voluntary basis. The plan sees a new Fund of €5.5 billion a year for common research and defence capability projects, as well as for technological innovation in defence. Participating Member States can also save money by pooling their purchasing power on defence spending.
At the same time, the Commission has published a "reflection paper" to launch a public debate on how the EU at 27 might develop by 2025 in the area of defence. Today's moves were announced by President Juncker last September and agreed by the Heads of Government (European Council) in December.
Commissioner Phil Hogan was on hand in Kilkenny today to listen to the concerns of the Irish public. Hot topics were EU support to farmers, Brexit and the future of the EU. He said "When speaking about Europe and the EU, we must always remember that Europe is us. We are Europe. Populists seek to divide people into us and them – "they" are bad, "we" are good. Of course "they" are usually from far away, or look different to us. We have seen this poisonous populism infect Europe in recent times. It is the primary cause of Brexit. Successive British governments sought to curry favour with the populist British tabloid media. Rather than face down their lies, they sought to ride the wave of populist Euroscepticism. This ended up in the Brexit mess we are now left with."