I am delighted to have a brief opportunity to contribute to the debate. The next meeting of the European Council will take place in Brussels tomorrow and Friday, where there will be discussions on migration, including reform of the Common European Asylum System, CEAS, the economy and multi-annual financial framework, PESCO and co-operation with NATO, and, most important for us, Brexit. On Sunday last, 16 of the 28 EU leaders held a mini-summit hosted by the Commission on the migration crisis. We have noted the fallout between the Council and the Commission regarding the organisation of that summit. It is clear that migration will be one of the most contentious issues on which to find consensus during the summit. A pan-European approach to migration is essential, particularly as we think of people who have died trying to cross into Europe because they wanted to migrate here.
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.