Varadkar to discuss future of EU with Macron in Paris

Taoiseach and French president’s first bilateral meeting to also include talks on Brexit

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and French president Emmanuel Macron clashed in a discussion at the European Council last week over another idea favoured by France, a potential digital tax. Photograph: Tom Honan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and French president Emmanuel Macron clashed in a discussion at the European Council last week over another idea favoured by France, a potential digital tax. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will discuss Brexit and the future direction of the European Union with French president Emmanuel Macron during their first bilateral meeting in Paris on Tuesday.

Mr Varadkar will meet Mr Macron in the Élysée Palace, and the Taoiseach will also attend an event to promote Irish business in France.

Although the two leaders met at European Council meetings in Brussels, it will be the first bilateral meeting between them.

As well as Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, the meeting is expected to include discussions on the “future of Europe agenda”. Mr Macron has recently proposed a number of significant reforms to the EU, many of which will be opposed by Ireland.

These include a common euro area budget and a convergence of corporation tax rates among euro zone members, reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy, and a European defence policy that would include a “common intervention force, a common defence budget and a common doctrine for action”, among other issues.

Clashed

Mr Varadkar and Mr Macron also clashed in a discussion at the European Council last week over another idea favoured by France, a potential digital tax.

The Taoiseach’s spokesman on Monday night said the meeting on Tuesday will feature talks on “the future of Europe agenda, securing a good deal for Ireland and Europe from Brexit, and building on discussions at last week’s European Council summit”.

“The two leaders will also discuss the close bilateral relations between Ireland and France, and opportunities to strengthen them further, for example through a planned Celtic interconnector energy link,” the spokesman added.

The Celtic interconnector is a proposed electrical link between the south of Ireland and the northwest of France, which if built would enable the movement of power between the two countries.

The Taoiseach’s one-day programme will also include promotions with Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and other organisations.

“The Taoiseach will also attend a business event organised by the Irish Embassy in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Bord Bia to promote stronger trade, investment and tourism links between Ireland and France,” Mr Varadkar’s spokesman said.