European return this Thursday for Emmanuel Macron. The president of the republic is heading to Ireland, one of the last countries of the European Union not to be visited since the beginning of his five-year term – he still has Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary left.
The move comes as France takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2022. Its priorities should revolve around post-Kovid recovery, European sovereignty, the renewal of the Schengen agreements, or the asylum / immigration agreement. There are several cases where Emmanuel Macron wants to make progress to increase his re-election campaign. This Thursday, the head of state will address, above all, the acceptance of Afghan refugees, the post-Brexit customs regulations and the OECD agreement on multinational corporations’ taxes.
Walk the streets of Dublin
Michael Higgins, a politician and poet who has presided over Ireland since 2011, was interviewed by his rival, Michael Higgins, and then this one-day activity visit with lunch with Prime Minister Michael Martin from June 2020 is short but concise. A coalition government consisting of two central parties and the Greens. Emmanuel Macron will meet with intellectuals, students or startup bosses. Before dinner at the President’s residence in Aras A ‘Utrain, he will take to the streets of Dublin in the footsteps of the most famous Irish novelist, James Joyce.
In the news, the talks in Dublin will focus on the crisis in Afghanistan and the difficult discussion of accepting refugees, “a question that arises at the European level”, according to the presidency. Emmanuel Macron mentioned this in recent days with several European leaders, including German Angela Merkel, Italian Mario Draghi or Dutchman Mark Rutte. Ireland, which sent a delegation to Kabul this week with the help of France, plans to host about 230 Afghans.
Questioning the post-Brexit customs conditions
Emmanuel Macron, who will be accompanied by Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian (Foreign Affairs), Bruno Le Meyer (Economy) and Clement Boone (European Affairs), will address two issues that play an important role in Ireland. The first concern between Brexit and the London-based protocol between the United Kingdom and the European Union over post-Brexit customs arrangements in Northern Ireland is over. Like Brussels, Paris avoids “any renegotiation” of this difficult agreement, while the French president said he was ready to discuss “concrete solutions” to better implement it.
Along with Brexit, France is now Ireland’s closest neighbor to the European Union, which has led to “enhancing maritime ties” between the two countries, underscoring the presidency, and welcoming the hexagon to become the first European host country for Irish investment of 27 2.27 billion.
Sensitive issue of contract in OECD
Another sensitive issue is Dublin’s “reservations” to an agreement signed early in the summer within the framework of the OECD to pay at least 15% less tax on the profits of multinational companies. Ireland has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, at 12.5%, making it the European headquarters of several US companies that are giants in technology and pharmacy.
France, one of the most advanced countries on the issue, “has not completely closed the door” to the Dublin Agreement, 132 of the 139 member states of the OECD have already signed it, and “signaled readiness to move forward,” underlining the French presidency.
The two parties, Paris and Dublin, intend to expand their relationship in education with an agreement on teacher mobility, while one-third of Erasmus students hosted in Ireland are from France. After this trip, Emmanuel Macron’s European agenda promises to be complete by the end of the year, an important anonymity: Results of the September 26 elections in Germany, The first partner of Paris to mark the end of the Merkel era.
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