PoliticsEmmanuel Macron in Dublin on Thursday for his return...

Emmanuel Macron in Dublin on Thursday for his return to Europe before the French presidency of the EU in 2022


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Will the French EU presidency in 2022 be able to boost the likely re-election campaign of the French president? Emmanuel Macron places his return under the sign of Europe with a trip this Thursday to Dublin.

Ireland is one of the last four EU countries remaining to be visited by the Head of State since the start of his five-year term, along with Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary, where he hopes to visit in the next few years. month.

What priorities for France, president of the EU for 2022?

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At the end of the autumn, France will present its priorities for the EU presidency, which it will hold in the first half of 2022. They should revolve around the post-Covid revival, European sovereignty, the reform of the Schengen agreements. or the asylum / immigration pact. So many cases on which Emmanuel Macron will seek to obtain progress before the first round of the presidential election, on April 10.

This one-day working visit will be short but dense, with an interview with his counterpart Michael Higgins, politician and poet who has presided over Ireland since 2011, followed by a working lunch with Prime Minister Micheal Martin, at the head since June 2020 of a coalition government comprising two centrist parties and the Greens.

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Emmanuel Macron will also meet intellectuals, students or start-up bosses. He will stroll through the streets of Dublin in the footsteps of James Joyce, the most famous Irish novelist, before a dinner at Aras an Uachtarain, the presidential residence.

The migration issue on the program

Current events oblige, the discussions in Dublin will relate to the crisis in Afghanistan and the difficult debate on the reception of the refugees, “a question which arises at the European level”, according to the Elysee. Emmanuel Macron has also mentioned it in recent days with several other European leaders, including the German Angela Merkel, the Italian Mario Draghi or the Dutch Mark Rutte.

Ireland, which this week sent a delegation to Kabul with the help of France, plans to host some 230 Afghans.

Brexit, a still sensitive issue

Emmanuel Macron, who will be accompanied by ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian (diplomacy), Bruno Le Maire (Economy) and Clément Beaune (European affairs), will also address two issues in which Ireland plays a central role.

The first concerns Brexit and the questioning by London of the protocol concluded between the United Kingdom and the EU on post-Brexit customs arrangements in Northern Ireland. Paris, like Brussels, excludes “any renegotiation” of this difficultly obtained agreement, while saying it is ready to “discuss” “concrete solutions” to better implement it, the Elysee said.

With Brexit, France is now “Ireland’s closest neighbor in the EU”, which has led to “increased maritime links” between the two countries, underlines the presidency, welcoming the fact that the Hexagon has become “the leading European host country for Irish investments, to the tune of 2.27 billion euros”.

The other sensitive issue concerns the “reservations” expressed by Dublin to the agreement signed at the beginning of the summer within the framework of the OECD to better tax the profits of multinationals with a minimum rate of at least 15%.

Ireland reluctant to tax multinationals

Ireland has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world at 12.5%, which has made it home to the European headquarters of a host of US companies, the giants of the technology and pharmacy. France, one of the most advanced countries on the matter, notes that Dublin “has not entirely closed the door” to the agreement, already signed by 132 of the 139 member countries of the OECD, and “a gave signs of availability to move forward, ”underlines the Elysee.

Bilaterally, Paris and Dublin intend, with an agreement on teacher mobility, to develop their relations in education, while a third of Erasmus students hosted in Ireland come from France.

After this trip, Emmanuel Macron’s European agenda promises to be full until the end of the year, with one major unknown: the result of the September 26 elections in Germany, by far the first partner of Paris, which will mark the end of the Merkel era.


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