Ibec Europe & Global Focus
Welcome to the 16th edition of Ibec Europe & Global Focus our publication on the major issues impacting business at EU and international level.
As we publish this edition, Ireland along with the rest of Europe continues to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As 2021 began, Ireland experienced a third wave of COVID-19 which sent the country back into Level 5 restrictions . Other EU Member States have also reimposed or maintained their own restrictions in order to curtail or avoid new waves of the virus. Four EMA-approved vaccines are currently being distributed across the continent with over 62 million doses administered in the EU and nearly 700,000 in Ireland.
The US has inaugurated President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. In his first foreign policy address, US President Biden said he would repair alliances through dialogue and diplomacy, work more closely on China and re-engage in multilateralism.
In this issue we summarise Ibec’s view on the EU-UK TCA and Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, detailing the consequences for business, and overviewing Ibec’s engagement with members, Government, and the EU institutions, as part of the Brexit campaign.
In our general EU affairs section we analyse the most relevant issues for the EU institutions as we enter 2021. These include COVID-19 vaccine procurement, realising the Green Deal and the digital transformation.
We profile the new WTO (World Trade Organisation) DG Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who made history in becoming the first woman to head the WTO and first person from an African country (Nigeria) in the role. Okonjo-Iweala has pledged to find a solution for the Appellate Body and support Aid-for-Trade initiatives to assist least developed countries in the trading system.
In this issue we, jointly with the Canadian Embassy in Ireland, take a look at the opportunities and benefits of CETA for Ireland and Irish business. Our member in focus piece looks at Ibec member CRH and its experience of doing business in Canada.
We take stock of the major events happening across EU member states including an overview of the CDU leadership election in Germany and parliamentary elections in the Netherlands.
Also in this issue’s sectoral update, Drinks Ireland deliver an update on EU-US relations and in our policy desks section we outline Ibec’s vision for the EU’s Digital Decade with a focus on digital skills, infrastructure and innovation.
In our final section for this issue we highlight our most high profile events and engagements in this quarter, including our series of Brexit webinars, our first engagement for 2021 with our stakeholder audience titled ‘Ireland and the EU: The outlook for 2021’ and the first virtual Ibec St. Patrick’s Day event in collaboration with Sean Kelly MEP.
Please contact our EU & International Affairs team in Brussels or Dublin if you wish to further discuss any of the items covered.