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Snippet Contents:

We welcome this agenda but it is important to realise that there are certain problems with what has been proposed. At the most basic level, far too little work has been done on the specifics of proposals and on defining the realm of what is and is not achievable through legislation that falls short of a treaty. Conducting discussions in the absence of a model of what is proposed and a study of what its impact might be is foolish. In the past, the approach to major reforms was to empower a group to study specific problems and propose options. Each of the major reforms of the Union has proceeded in this manner. The objective was to try to stop a process that did not encompass both analysis and negotiation. Such an approach needs to be adopted now.
The issue of the digital economy, which was discussed last week, is a very good case in point. It is entirely legitimate to be discussing how to ensure fair taxation of online commerce. What is not legitimate is to push for decisions in the absence of the most rudimentary work on the impact of measures on individual states, businesses and the Union as a whole. The final wording of the communiqué was well signalled in advance of the meeting. Given the lack of preparatory work on legal, political or economic matters, it is arguable that the discussion should have been postponed. The proposal that action be taken only in the context of cross-OECD work is exactly the proposal adopted on wider issues six years ago. Ireland should join others in insisting that before the Commission returns with any proposal early next year, it should circulate a full economic impact study. Let us have a fact-based debate and not one driven by one-sided advocacy.
Fianna Fáil welcomes the Council’s decision to reaffirm its support for the internationally agreed Iran nuclear deal. Fundamentally, there was no innocent purpose behind Iran’s nuclear effort. However, the deal reached after years of negotiations is a fair one that promotes security and offers the hope of Iran being more open to constructive international relations. The decision of the US President to refuse to certify the deal is dangerous, particularly in light of the fact that we need some process for de-escalating the current proliferation. We should join our European colleagues in calling for the US Congress to maintain the deal and avoid an escalation at such a dangerous moment.
We should also note events yesterday whereby Russia vetoed a renewal of the UN’s independent investigation into chemical attacks by the Syrian Government against the Syrian people. Not only did Russia veto the renewal, it also attacked the clear findings of the most recent report about how a Syrian air force plane dropped chemical weapons on one village, resulting in 80 people being killed and many more being maimed. It is a deeply disturbing moment in world affairs when the covering up of war crimes receives so little attention.
In the context of migration, the summit marked no major move forward. We continue to support the principle of solidarity between members and we call for a significant expansion in support for humanitarian and development efforts. The reason so many have risked so much to reach Europe is a lack of hope. The only way this can be provided is to be far more ambitious and generous in terms of aid. Far too many things are compared to Marshall aid, which rescued democracy in Europe after the Second World War. However, we need something of this magnitude to help countries throughout the Mediterranean. Millions of people remain stuck in camps and are denied the basic opportunities to provide for themselves. Before the crisis surges yet again, we need to be looking at far more radical action.