Public Policy Bulletin, 26 June 2020

Jun 25, 2020

 

The vote to approve the draft programme for Government is currently underway. Take a look at today’s Public Policy news to see what is coming down the line. Also, you can read about Minister Bruton 's latest Climate Action & Sustainability Guidelines for Enterprise, as businesses reopen after COVID-19.

 

Government Formation: What is coming down the line?

With voting on the programme for Government coming to an end today and a decision due shortly on whether Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens will enter a historic coalition, here is a guide on what to expect next. You can also view a timeline of Government formation here.

 

How many votes does each party need internally for the programme to be ratified?

The ratification process to approve the government formation deal is currently underway in each of the individual parties of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens. The counting of votes started at 12pm today.

Fine Gael requires the approval of its internal electoral college, rather than every party member, and only has 700 votes to count. The count is relatively short and will begin today after lunchtime.

The Greens and Fianna Fáil are running one member, one vote ballot and will take longer to count votes than Fine Gael. The count started at noon with a result expected in the evening.

 

If the three parties approve the deal, what happens next?

There will be a full sitting of the Dáil in the Convention Centre in Dublin at 10:30am on Saturday 27 June to elect Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin as Taoiseach. The Dáil cannot sit in Leinster House due to the need for social distancing if all TDs are present. Following Mr Martin’s election as Taoiseach, he will then be invited by the Ceann Comhairle to make a brief statement.

The House will then adjourn to allow Mr Martin to receive his seal of office from President Michael D Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin, which is expected to happen at around 12.30pm.

 

When will the new Cabinet be picked?

Upon receiving his seal from the President, Mr Martin is expected to travel to his new office in Government Buildings where he will appoint the new Cabinet. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will have six full Cabinet posts, and the Greens will hold three. Leo Varadkar will choose the Fine Gael nominees and Eamon Ryan will choose the Green nominees. The leaders of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party met on Thursday this week to discuss the ministerial and departmental structure of the new Government.

Climate Action & Sustainability Guidelines published for Enterprise  

On 25 June 2020, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton, T.D. published the first set of new guidelines to help businesses in key sectors save money and minimise waste as they re-open.  

Full guidelines will be published in the coming weeks so that enterprise can embed sustainability and climate action into their business, as they reopen after COVID-19.  

This first set of guidelines are aimed at supporting SMEs in the construction industry to embed sustainability as they re-open after COVID-19. Minister Bruton said:  

“… These guidelines will not only help enterprise to embed sustainability across their business, making them more resilient in the long-term, but will also be helpful in showing how to keep costs down which will be crucial over the coming period.” 

Up to 80 per cent of a project's profit can be lost due to poor waste management and up to 17 per cent of profits can be lost due to poor energy use. These guidelines set out simple steps to help businesses save money by reducing water use, waste and energy, including install a thermostat in drying rooms to prevent overheating, reducing idling times of plant machinery to reduce excess fuel use and emissions, segregating and reducing waste and advice on take-back schemes.  

Minister Bruton said: 

“We have an opportunity now to embed good practices that will help sustain our recovery and our environment into the future. Doing business in a sustainable way is an investment in all our futures.”

"This approach will be a core part of the National Waste and Circular Economy Action Plan, which will be published shortly." 

The next guide due to publish in the series will provide support to the hospitality sector as it prepares to reopen. Tips on preventing food waste and saving water and energy will demonstrate how significant financial savings can be made by making small changes. Keep an eye on our Public Policy updates for the next guide.

 

European Parliament adopts the Taxonomy Regulation towards creating world’s first-ever “green list”

On 18 June, the European Parliament adopted the Taxonomy Regulation – a key piece of legislation that will contribute to the European Green Deal by boosting private sector investment in green and sustainable projects.

The taxonomy will help create the world’s first-ever “green list” - a classification system for sustainable economic activities. This will create a common language that investors can use everywhere when investing in projects and economic activities that have a substantial positive impact on the climate and the environment. By enabling investors to re-orient investments towards more sustainable technologies and businesses, this piece of legislation will be instrumental for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: “The adoption of the Taxonomy Regulation today marks a milestone in our green agenda. It creates the world's first ever classification system of environmentally sustainable economic activities, which will give a real boost to sustainable investments.”

Today's endorsement by the European Parliament follows the adoption of the text by the Council on 10 June 2020. Today's endorsement by the European Parliament marks the final step of the adoption process of the political agreement that co-legislators had reached on 17 December 2019.

 

The Platform on Sustainable Finance

The Regulation also formally establishes the Platform on Sustainable Finance. This platform will be an advisory body composed of experts from the private and public sector. It will assist the Commission in the preparation of technical screening criteria (the so-called ‘delegated acts'), which will develop the taxonomy further. It will also advise the Commission on the further development of the EU Taxonomy to cover other sustainability objectives and provide advice on sustainable finance more broadly.

The platform will consist of up to 57 members, 50 of which will be selected through the call for applications. The platform will be made up of a balance of stakeholders as shown in the figure below.

 

 

The Commission has launched a call for applications for members of the Platform on Sustainable Finance, with a deadline for applications of 16 July 2020.

  

Read all our updates on our Public Policy web centre.