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Martin will swap the domestic political frying pan for the white heat of the EU fire

John Downing


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First foray into EU-land: Taoiseach Micheál Martin (centre) faces a vital meeting with fellow EU leaders.
PHOTO: JULIEN BEHAL/PA WIRE

First foray into EU-land: Taoiseach Micheál Martin (centre) faces a vital meeting with fellow EU leaders. PHOTO: JULIEN BEHAL/PA WIRE

PA

First foray into EU-land: Taoiseach Micheál Martin (centre) faces a vital meeting with fellow EU leaders. PHOTO: JULIEN BEHAL/PA WIRE

The way things are shaping up in domestic politics, Micheál Martin may be relieved to get to Brussels next Friday for his first EU summit. But frying pans and fires come to mind.

Martin's first foray into EU-land - and the first face-to-face gathering of the leaders since February 21, when coronavirus was still a vague threat - could not be bigger and more vital to Ireland. This one is about the Brexit end-game, economic aid to rebuild the coronavirus-shattered economies, and a longer-term, seven-year EU budget plan for the years 2021-2027.

All three issues are interlinked and important to all 27 EU member states. But the problem is that many of the countries have different priorities on all three issues. So, a deal will be hard to come by and smaller states like Ireland are especially vulnerable.