Public Policy Bulletin, 20 April 2020

Apr 16, 2020

In this week’s bulletin, read about the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil bilateral joint policy framework. Also, we are interested in hearing your views on the European Commission’s consultation on the review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive.

 

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil joint policy framework gets green light by respective parliamentary parties

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s respective parliamentary parties have given the green light to the joint policy framework that could pave the way for the formation of a Government, two months after General Election 2020. The result of a bilateral engagement between the two parties, the 24-page draft document is largely focussed on facilitating negotiations with other parties on a plan to recover, rebuild and renew Ireland after the COVID-19 crisis. Beyond that, the focus is to respond decisively to the agenda of change in terms of housing, health, climate action and quality of life. It contains 10 key missions aimed at improving the overall well-being of Irish people and society.

  1. Reigniting and Renewing the Economy
  2. Universal Healthcare
  3. Housing for All
  4. A New Social Contract
  5. A New Green Deal
  6. A Better Quality of Life for All
  7. Supporting Young Ireland
  8. Opportunities through Education and Research
  9. A Shared Island
  10. At the Heart of Europe: Global Citizenship

The two parties are now expected to begin negotiations with other political parties in order to secure a majority to form a coalition.

 

European Commission consultation on the review of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive

The European Commission has launched a consultation seeking views of stakeholders with regard to possible revisions to the provisions of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (Directive 2014/95/EU, the “NFRD”). The NFRD has been transposed into law in Ireland and the UK. The NFRD identifies four sustainability issues (environment, social and employee issues, human rights, and bribery and corruption) and with respect to those issues it requires certain large companies to disclose information about their business model, policies, outcomes, risks and risk management, and key performance indicators relevant to the business.

The Institute will be responding to this consultation. We would be interested in hearing your views on these proposals, please send these directly to publicpolicy@charteredaccountants.ie by COB, Friday 15 May 2020.

Northern Ireland: Guidance published on workplace safety and priority sectors 

The Northern Ireland Department for the Economy has published guidance on making workplaces safer and a list of priority sectors during the current coronavirus crisis.  A Practical Guide To Making Workplaces Safer sets out principles and practical steps for employers and employees to keep themselves and their workplaces safe. The guidance has sections on public health guidelines, safer work practices, mental health and wellbeing, and further help and information. It also highlights the steps to be followed if employers and employees are concerned about safety. (Note: the guide is intended to be universal and does not replace existing legislation or industry-specific guidance.) The guide is accompanied by a ‘priority sectors list’, an advisory list of priority business sectors, aiming to clarify what constitutes a priority sector at this time, and to support companies to continue their business operations if they can work within social distancing guidelines. The list drawn up by the Engagement Forum on COVID-19 with representatives from business organisations, trade unions, local councils, government, the Health and Safety Executive NI, Public Health Agency and Food Standards Agency. 

 

Minister Donohoe discusses economic impact of Covid-19 with EU counterparts

The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, attended the informal Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), which took place by video conference. At ECOFIN, European Finance and Economic Ministers exchanged views based on the European Commission presentation of their latest assessment of the economic impact of COVID-19. They were also invited to endorse an important statement on the preservation of the flow of bank credit in the economy and corporates that are experiencing temporary difficulties as a result of COVID-19, and on maintaining a well-functioning insurance sector.

 

Read all our updates on our Public Policy web centre.