Tuesday 27 June 2017

Bruce Arnold: Noonan must show some nerve as we take EU helm

British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) delivered a rap on the knuckles to EU Commission head Manuel Barroso
British Prime Minister David Cameron (left) delivered a rap on the knuckles to EU Commission head Manuel Barroso

Michael Noonan will be our key figure in Europe during the Irish EU presidency beginning in January and his views about this and about Europe take on a special significance. The looming inevitability of this awesome eventuality in the present circumstances has worried many within the public service, not least those who consider we are not up to the job.

We are failing to grapple properly with a multitude of domestic problems, and to have the burden of a central role in the supposed matter of running Europe casts a huge shadow over our competence. No matter; the task is upon us now and we need desperately, I think, to accommodate ourselves within the reality that faces us, with our own unstable Budget side by side with the breakdown of the EU budget talks last week.

Mr Noonan's views on the Government's objectives for the Irish presidency may be briefly summarised. He sees a political union for Europe, involving a more centralised EU, as inevitable. Well he might, since he and the two parties in power, together with Fianna Fail, have, with might and main, worked to deliver us into that political union well before the need for it has been established.

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