I know the Minister is an avid reader and follower of international affairs. Obviously, he read President Macron’s book Revolution and his Sorbonne speech. What preparations, if any, is the Department making on the common consolidated corporate tax base on the impacts it will have on corporation tax and on the idea of a common finance Minister for Europe and a common debt? Are we doing anything? Perhaps this is the real elephant in the room. Are we doing anything to prepare for the possibility of these so-called reforms?
Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I am delighted on Europe Day to have the opportunity to contribute briefly to this important debate. Clearly the EU is facing major challenges over the next few years, and the decision of the British people to opt for Brexit has offered an existential challenge to its very existence. In virtually every EU country, of course, there have been ongoing and long-standing concerns over the levels of democracy, accountability and transparency in the EU’s quasi-federal structures. These concerns have often been too easily dismissed as populism by commentators who, of course, are devoted to the EU project. The conduct of the bailouts of euro members like Ireland, Greece and Portugal since 2010 has greatly exacerbated these misgivings and reservations among the European electorates. The great Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance Minister, is now forming his own Europe-wide political party, which we may see in Ireland.
Tens of thousands of Irish football fans are expected to travel to France this June to support the Boys in Green in the European Football Championship. In light of this, Deputy Broughan requested information from the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, on what extra resources and personnel would be deployed to the Irish Embassy in Paris and the Irish Honorary Consulate office in France for the duration of the Euros.