The first results of the Autumn 2018 Eurobarometer survey shows that Irish people continue to be the most likely to have a positive image of the EU at 64% (unchanged since the last two surveys in spring 2018 and autumn 2017). Across the EU, the share of respondents who have a positive image has risen in 17 member states since the spring 2018 survey, including the UK where it is up 9 percentage points to 43%. This is the same as the EU average, which is up 3 points since the spring.
Meanwhile the share of Irish people (8%) with a negative image of the EU is the second lowest in the EU after Lithuania at 6%. The EU average is 20%.
The EU Commission is providing funding to 9 innovative Irish SMES to help bring their innovations to the market faster.
Three of the Irish SMEs are receiving funding under the SME Instrument Phase 1 while one is receiving funding under the SME Instrument Phase 2. The remaining 5 Irish SMEs are receiving funding under the Fast Track to Innovation strands of the European Innovation Council. Ireland is the 6th most successful country under this particular round of Fast Track to Innovation funding with five Irish participants out of a total of 60.
Given the continued uncertainty in the UK surrounding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, as agreed between the EU and the UK on 25 November 2018 – and last week's call by the European Council (Article 50) to intensify preparedness work at all levels and for all outcomes – the European Commission has today started implementing its “no deal” Contingency Action Plan. This delivers on the Commission's commitment to adopt all necessary “no deal” proposals by the end of the year, as outlined in its second preparedness Communication of 13 November 2018.
Today's package includes 14 measures in a limited number of areas where a "no-deal" scenario would create major disruption for citizens and businesses in the EU27. These areas include financial services, air transport, customs, and climate policy, amongst others.
The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached today a political agreement on a new set of rules that will ensure protection of 100% of EU farmers and of a very large majority of EU agri-food companies against practices contrary to good faith and fair dealing.
The new European law will cover agricultural and food products traded in the food supply chain, banning for the first time up to 16 unfair trading practices imposed unilaterally by one trading partner on another. Other practices will only be permitted if subject to a clear and unambiguous upfront agreement between the parties involved.
Today the European Commission adopted a strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050 – A Clean Planet for all.
The strategy shows how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research – while ensuring social fairness for a just transition.
Two new studies published today by the European Commission highlight the increasing importance of EU exports for job opportunities in Europe and beyond.
EU exports to the world are more important than ever, supporting 36 million jobs across Europe, two thirds more than in 2000. 14 million of these jobs are held by women. In addition, EU exports to the world generate €2.3 trillion of value added in the EU.
Exports from Ireland to countries outside the EU support 648,000 jobs in Ireland. Irish companies’ exports outside the EU were worth €128 billion in 2017.
The European Commission said today that Ireland's draft national budget is "compliant" with the EU's Stability and Growth Pact rules.
Ireland was one of ten countries that were found to be compliant: Germany, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, and Finland.
The EU and UK negotiators have agreed in full on the terms of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Protocol includes all the provisions on how the so-called “backstop” solution for avoiding a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would work. This forms part of the overall Withdrawal Agreement and will apply unless and until it is superseded, in whole or in part, by any subsequent agreement. Both the EU and the UK will use their best endeavours to conclude and ratify a subsequent agreement by 1 July 2020.
The negotiators of the European Commission and the United Kingdom have today reached a deal on the terms of the Article 50 Withdrawal Agreement.
All aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement have now been finalised and agreed at negotiator level. This agreement marks a decisive moment in the negotiations. The European Commission therefore recommended to the European Council (Article 50) to find that decisive progress has been made in the negotiations on the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, allowing the negotiations on the withdrawal agreement to be concluded and the next step of the process to be initiated. The negotiators have also agreed on an outline of the political declaration on the future EU-UK relationship.
The European Commission has today published a limited number of detailed contingency plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
In a Communication published today on "Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: a Contingency Action Plan", the Commission said:
"The Commission stands ready to engage as of now with the Member States that will be most affected by a disorderly withdrawal and explore pragmatic and efficient support solutions, in line with EU State aid law. In particular, the Commission will support Ireland in finding solutions addressing the specific challenges of Irish businesses.