Public Policy Bulletin, 29 November 2019

Nov 27, 2019

In this week’s bulletin, take a look at who’s who in the newly confirmed European Commission. Also, read about the World Bank’s recently released “Subnational Doing Business in Ireland” report.

EU Parliament elects new European Commission

On 27 November the European Parliament confirmed its new college of commissioners, led by Ursula Von der Leyen. The new team of European commissioners includes Ireland’s Commissioner Phil Hogan as the EU Trade Commissioner. The new team will take office on Sunday 1 December, with the key priorities focusing on climate, the digital economy and artificial intelligence, reform of migration policies and a more active EU role in global politics. Here is a handy infographic setting out the composition of the new commission.

World Bank releases “Subnational Doing Business in Ireland” report

The newly released World Bank report “Subnational Doing Business in Ireland”, examines the business regulatory environment and its impact on local entrepreneurs in five Irish cities (Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford) across five areas relevant to the lifecycle of small and medium-sized businesses: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; and enforcing contracts. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe welcomed the launch of this report by stating its contribution towards improving regulatory environment for businesses at the regional and local level and how regions can learn from each other and put in place more efficient and productive practices to improve Ireland’s overall competitiveness.

Irish Fiscal Advisory Council publishes latest Fiscal Assessment Report

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council has released its second Fiscal Assessment Report of 2019. The report assesses the fiscal stance that the Government set out in Budget 2020. It also assesses the macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts, and monitors compliance with the fiscal rules.

The report outlines that overspending in health and local authorities is not in line with "prudent economic and budgetary management". With the Brexit outcome still uncertain, the council reports that the impact on the Irish economy could be worse than predicted. The budgetary watchdog also highlighted Ireland’s increasing reliance on high corporation tax receipts in the report. 

Commenting on the report, the Chairperson of the Fiscal Council, Seamus Coffey, noted: “The Government adopted the welcome approach of offsetting overruns in 2019 in its Budget 2020 package. Steps like this are in line with the Council’s recent advice. But upward revisions to spending outside of the Exchequer—where more transparency is needed—mean overall government spending is set to expand more rapidly than planned in 2020. This leaves the public finances in a less favourable position in an unusually uncertain environment.”

More information is available on the Fiscal Advisory Council website.

Read all our updates in our Public Policy web centre.