European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly said ‘public health demands the highest standard’. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Ombudsman’s report says ‘sophistication of lobbying by tobacco firms is underestimated’

Ireland was one of the few EU economies to see its forecasts unchanged since November

New European Commission forecast expects Irish unemployment levels to fall further

Austrian Max Schrems, who took a data privacy infringement case to  the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in 2015. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Safe Harbour 2 welcomed while criticisms continue over Dublin’s protection regime

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker jokes with UKip leader Nigel Farage  in Strasbourg on Wednesday. Photograph: Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images

Britain’s PM faces mounting criticism from own party over draft reform agreement

The European Commission has revised Ireland’s minimum “medium-term objective”, providing more scope to cut tax or boost spending in that period. Photograph:  Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Move means next government can aim for structural deficit of 0.5% of GDP

EU Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova: she said she expects the pact to be in force within three months. Photograph: Koen van Weel / AFP/Getty Images

Pact to protect ‘fundamental rights’ of EU citizens and provide legal clarity to companies

European Council president Donald Tusk: warned of “challenging negotiations ahead”. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Draft document on settlement for the UK within EU is interim stage in renegotiation

EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos: while recognising “poor progress” has been made by “frontline” member states, he said this was “not about the end of Schengen”. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Pressure on Greece to set up ‘surveillance system covering whole sea border’

The European Commission has announced a framework to replace the Safe Harbour data-transfer arrangement.

EU commissioners announce late replacement for Safe Harbour to ensure continued transfer of personal information across Atlantic (...)

British prime minister David Cameron  during a meeting with European Council president Donald Tusk in Brussels. Photograph: Julien Warnand/Pool/Files/Reuters

Settlement proposes ‘emergency brake’ on migrant benefits

EU sources say main obstacle the issue of US intelligence services’ access to data relating to union citizens which has been transferred to US companies. Photograph: Getty Images

Almost four months since European Court of Justice deemed Safe Harbour pact invalid

A British flag flutters next to EU flags ahead of  David Cameron’s visit to  Brussels last Friday, Photograph:  EPA/Laurent Dubrule

European Union leaders keen to offer British prime minister pact he can sell to his people

A British Union Jack flag flutters next to European Union flags  at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Growing optimism seen among European Union officials that a deal will be brokered

British prime minister David Cameron  in Brussels, Belgium, where he met with  European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

UK PM dismisses proposal on ‘emergency’ brake on in-work benefits for EU migrants

Prime Minister David Cameron cancels a visit to Sweden and Denmark. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/WPA Pool /Getty Image

Unplanned visit by British PM comes just days ahead of expected reform package draft

EU commissioner Pierre Moscovici seeks a ‘level playing field’ in terms of corporate tax:  Photograph: AFP

Economics commissioner criticises member states with ‘avoidance-friendly regimes’

The European Commission has stepped up its fight against aggressive corporate tax practices, announcing a suite of measures to prevent multinational companies from reducing their tax bills.

Rules to address practice whereby firms move profits to lower-tax jurisdictions to cut bill

Jean-Claude Juncker: The European Commission President was prime minister of Luxembourg when most of the ’Luxembourg leaks’ tax deals were negotiated. Photograph:  Laurent Dubrule/EPA

Initiatives might not be good for Ireland, which found itself back in headlines

EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici:  will announce measures designed to stop companies exploiting loopholes in how tax is calculated across borders. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Proposals to include curbing of shifting profits to lower-tax countries in EU

The European Court of Auditors has strongly criticised the European Commission’s handling of the Irish bailout, highlighting its failure to notice warning-signs in the run-up to the financial crisis.

Court of Auditors highlights failure to notice warning signs in run-up to financial crisis

Davos: This year, the World Economic Forum was once again haunted by the question of wealth inequality.  REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

Corporate tax regime allows global giants to avoid paying their fair share

 Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras  with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, at a bilateral meeting  in Davos. Photograph: Jean-Christophe Bott/ EPA

Fund will support Greece if it is granted ‘significant’ debt relief by European partners

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Draghi says ‘society will be changed’ by crisis which saw one million reach Europe last year

Outside the Congress Center of the 46th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland. Photograph: Laurent Gillieron/EPA

Vying with host of world and business leaders, Kenny and IDA chief are in diplomatic overdrive

Enda Kenny in Davos yesterday: the 90-minute debate on “rebooting the global economy” was not his natural territory, as the discussion delved into the nuances of labour patterns and emerging market developments. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Economist tells Davos debate Ireland was most successful state on leaving bailout

Mario Draghi: said the euro area recovery was proceeding but risks to it outlook “remain on the downside”. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Stocks rebound after European Central Bank chief agrees to review policy in March

British prime minister David Cameron speaks during a special session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

British prime minister puts pressure on negotiators in Brussels for better deal

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would confirm the Government’s commitment to keep the cost-base under control and contain public spending when he met existing and potential investors at Davos on Thursday. Photograph: Collins

Davos 2016: Kenny confident Ireland insulated from economic turbulence

Swiss president Johann Schneider-Ammann met European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last Friday  with free movement  being the main focus of discussions. Photograph: Laurent Gillieron/EPA

EU saw red over 2014 vote for immigration curbs in the country of contradictions

An electronic stock board  in Tokyo, Japan. Photograph: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Stock markets hit fresh lows amid renewed concerns about falling oil prices

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, attends the  “Transformation of Tomorrow”  session in Davos. Photograph:  Ruben Sprich/Reuters

Facebook chief operating officer speaks at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  arrives for the Christian Social Union (CSU) meeting in the southern Bavarian resort of Wildbad Kreuth. Michaela Rehle/Reuters

German chancellor tells allies that European solution still best answer to crisis

Germany’s president Joachim Gauck at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he warned that the refugee crisis presents the EU with its “biggest ever threat”. Photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuters

German president Joachim Gauck says refugee crisis is EU’s ‘biggest ever test’

German president Joachim Gauck at Davos. He said    refugee crisis presents the European Union’s with its “biggest ever threat” as he warned that limits would be introduced on refugees arriving in Germany.  Photograph: Ruben Sprich/Reuters

German president warns that limit on arrivals in Germany will be introduced

 US actor Leonardo DiCaprio at the Crystal Award Ceremony on the eve of the opening of the 46th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland. Photograph: EPA

IMF cuts growth estimates for next year amid signs of Chinese slowdown

 US vice-president Joe Biden at the  46th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.  Photograph: Laurent GIllieron/EPA

Concerns about the health of the Chinese economy, falling oil prices and geopolitical security risks are the main factors weighing(...)

The main hall in Davos. The great and good of the financial world are gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

World Economic Forum to grapple with big issues from climate change to refugee crisis

An employee of the InterContinental Hotel in Davos checks a bottle of champagne on the eve of the World Economic Forum. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

State's ability to attract skilled foreign migrants has slipped over the past year, says Adecco

UAE vice president and prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum with French foreign minister Laurent Fabius during their meeting at his palace in Dubai on Monday. Photograph: Karim Sahib/Getty Images

New sanctions would ‘have no legal or moral legitimacy’, Tehran claims

 Polish president Andrzej Duda: “I can assure you nothing exceptional is happening in Poland.” Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Andrzej Duda appeals to EU to ‘calm down’

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan who is due to attend an  EU foreign ministers’ to discuss the situation in the Middle East. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister welcomes of Iranian nuclear plan which paves the way for lifting of sanctions

Iranian schoolgirls attend President Hassan Rouhani’s speech to parliament before presenting the proposed annual budget in Tehran on Sunday. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

About 300 individuals and companies taken off sanctions list following agreement

The Oxfam report highlights the role that “an ever more elaborate system of tax havens” is playing in the deepening divide, calling for a “global approach to end the era of tax havens”. Photograph: Getty Images

International report reveals that 62 richest own same as poorest 50% of population

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: ‘Whoever kills Schengen carries the internal market to its grave.’ Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Angela Merkel is under intense pressure as Austria imposes new border restrictions

Christine Lagarde said  the question of debt sustainability and pension reform would be key to any participation. Photograph: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

EU vice-president Dombrovskis says that the debt-servicing costs are relatively low

  Simon Harris: welcomed €200 million investment in Ireland by the European Investment Bank to tackle flood-prevention measures, the first time the EIB has funded flood-related infrastructure in Ireland. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister with responsibility for OPW says rules governing emergency funds discriminate against smaller states

Simon Harris said ‘an awful lot has changed’ since Ireland secured a commitment from EU leaders to revisit the question of recompensing Ireland for its bank rescue.  Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

It ‘simply does not make sense’ to link Ireland to Greek campaign for further relief, says Minister of State

The European Investment Bank provides loans to EU countries to invest in infrastructural projects, providing long-term financing at low interest rates.

Minister of State Simon Harris to press EU on emergency fund

Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo: Solidarity founder Lech Walesa says her government “acts against our freedom, achievements, democracy”.Photo: REUTERS/Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta

Turning a blind eye to deteriorating rule of law standards in member states calls credibility into question

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras: his decision to go to the polls in September proved wise. The subsequent general election – Greece’s fifth in six years – served to purge Syriza of its most radical left members. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Swift completion of the first bailout review is vital for Greek debt relief to move ahead

Minister of State Simon Harris: “Perhaps these thresholds need to be looked at.” Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

‘About €1bn in damages would have to be incurred in Ireland’s case’

Protesters   clash with police  during a rally against  pension reform which , along with  Greece’s progress on budget fiscal targets, has been set out as a key demand by creditors.  Photograph: Yannis Kolesidis/EPA

Finance minister Tsakalotos expected to brief counterparts on milestones reached

Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos is visiting European capitals to drum up support for further debt relief for Greece.  Photograph: Markku Ojala/EPA

Prospect of further debt relief for Greece could prove highly sensitive for Ireland

European Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans: his announcement of a preliminary review of controversial new laws introduced by the governing Law and Justice Party will increase tensions between the EU and the new Polish government over. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Media Bill and changes to Poland’s highest court under review by European Commission

EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly’s report in October accused the commission of breaching its obligations under the World Health Organisation disclosure rules.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Irish Cancer Society calls for greater transparency following ombudsman investigation

The European Commission last week rejected suggestions that EU laws are to blame for the severe flooding in Ireland. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

‘Ming’ Flanagan says decision to invite politicians from number of parties reflects fact flooding is ‘national emergency’

Former taoiseach and EU ambassador to Washington John Bruton: “The European Union is a deeply fragile project.” Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Former taoiseach says EU needs to define its values as he launches new book in Brussels

Addressing MEPs in the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday, EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici said that 2016 would be the year of “corporate tax reform and fiscal transparency.” Photograph: Laurent Dubrule/EPA

Information will feed into relaunch of the revised common consolidated corporate tax base

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The European Commission demanded on Monday that Belgium recover some €700 million from 35 large companies in back taxes in its biggest blow to date to profit-shielding arrangements used by many multinationals. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

European Commission tells Belgium to recoup €700 million in unpaid corporate taxes

 Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder of the Web Summit, with Portuguese deputy prime minister Paulo Portas, during the Web Summit in Dublin in November. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Amid all the debate around Dublin’s loss of the event, the move was a major coup for Portugal

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has strongly advocated engagement with Turkey as a way of tackling the migration crisis, but her officials are increasingly frustrated with the pace of implantation of the joint action plan.   Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Little progress made on €3 billion aid for Ankara in exchange for tackling migrant crisis

Protesters in Freedom Square in Poznan, Poland, at the weekend under the banner Red Rard for Law and Justice (PiS). Photograph: EPA/Jakub Kaczmarczyk

Anti-democracy moves in Warsaw add to EU’s concerns

A resident clears out flood water this week from property in  Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

European Commission rejects claims EU policies have contributed to flooding

Sandbags along the  banks of the east side of the River Shannon at  Athlone  keep the river from flooding houses in the Strand Area. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Reaction follows criticism that EU water directive prevents councils dredging rivers

The EU’s high representative for foreign policy, Federica Mogherini,  has reiterated the EU’s opposition to the death penalty “in all circumstances” and expressed her concern at the risk of sectarian violence escalating in the Muslim world.  File photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

EU expects regional powers ‘to act responsibly in an already very volatile situation’

 Alexis Tsipras: succeeded in maintaining his position as prime minister despite signing up to a vastly more punitive austerity programme than anything that had been envisaged at the beginning of the year. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

World review of the year: The radical leader managed to secure backing for austerity

German chancellor Angela Merkel leaving the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. Photograph: Thierry Charlier/AFP/Getty Images

Concerns grow over scheme that aims to relocate 120,000 refugees across EU

European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker(left), EU council president Donald Tusk and Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel on their way to a press conference at the end of the second day of EU summit in Brussels. Photograph: EPA

European Council commit to addressing deficiencies in Europe’s asylum policy

Asylum seekers from Lebanon, the Gambia and Kosovo learn carpentry at the Arrivo centre in Berlin. The programme offers  exposure to a variety of trades as well as German lessons. Photograph: Getty Images

European-wide border guard latest get-tough measure endorsed

British prime minister David Cameron  with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras on the sidelines of the summit in Brussels. Photograph: AP

British PM urges EU leaders to agree significant reforms to keep country in the union

The Unicef Photograph of the Year 2015 shows  refugees  trying to break through a cordon of Macedonian special police  earlier this summer. Photograph: Georgi Licovski/European Pressphoto Agency

Final sign-off on new European Border and Coast Guard agency not expected until next year

Enda Kenny: Details remained to be worked out on all of the British prime minister’s reform demands. Photograph: Bloomberg

Cameron signals no deal likely until February, making June earliest date for referendum

Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vucic (right) and Austria’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz hug at an EU-Serbia association council meeting on Monday in Brussels. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/ AFP/Getty Images

Launch of Serbian chapters a signal of how far EU has travelled on its enlargement path

Taoiseach Enda Kenny: he will join leaders of the other 27 EU member states for the final leaders’ summit of the year in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Debate likely to concentrate on long-term and short-term visions, and border issues

Police escort migrants and asylum seekers as they walk to a refugee centre after crossing the Croatian-Slovenian border near Rigonce on October 24th. Photograph: Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty Images

Mandatory checks for passengers arriving at EU’s external borders also included in new measures

 A child touches the beard of a volunteer dressed as Santa Claus at a migrant shelter  in Berlin:  Germany has backed the proposal for a new European coast guard. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Security measures part of European Commission’s package to tackle migration crisis

Portuguese president Anibal Cavaco Silva  shakes hands with  Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins at Belem presidential palace in Lisbon, Portugal,  December 9th, 2015, on the first day of the latter’s three-day official visit to Portugal. Photograph: Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images

‘People, in any version of EU, require much more than being allowed to survive’ - President

President Michael D Higgins with Lisbon mayor Fernando Medina   at Lisbon City Hall where the  President  was given the key of the city on the second day of his   State visit to Portugal. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Higgins calls for ‘meaningful and socially inclusive’ economic growth in EU

President Michael D Higgins is welcomed by Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa before a meeting at the ministry of foreign affairs in Lisbon: the President’s State visit comes at an interesting time politically. Photograph: Inacio Rosa/EPA

While PM António Costa is set on staying in the euro, Enda Kenny may fear left’s allure

President Michael D Higgins  stands next to Portuguese president Anibal Cavaco Silva during a meeting at Belem Palace in Lisbon, Portugal. Photograph: Rafael Marchante/Reuters.

President, on visit to Portugal, says it’s possible to have fiscal prudence and social cohesion

President Michael D Higgins begins a four-day State visit to Portugal on Wednesday, his first State visit to the country since assuming office in 2011.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly accompanying President on visit

Head of the eurogroup  Jeroen Dijsselbloem: “I think Ireland once again demonstrates that determined implementation . . . can turn an economy around to the benefit of citizens”

Ministers due to adopt conclusions on future of EU’s code of conduct on business taxation

 European Council president Donald Tusk: He said  the most problematic issue was the request from British prime minister David Cameron  for changes to social benefit and free movement rules.  Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/Etienne Laurent/EPA

Letter to 27 member state leaders says uncertainty on Brexit is destabilising for EU

Taoiseach Enda Kenny during an anouncment of a jobs launch  at the Conrad Hotel, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Enda Kenny sympathises with ‘terrible loss’ but defends progress on defence systems

Euro zone finance ministers are due to be briefed by Michael Noonan on the fourth post-programme surveillance mission to Dublin

‘Drafting reports is always difficult because you’re trying to get cross-party consensus to issues that are sometimes controversia(...)

Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald  and German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere at the start of Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels. Photograph: Laurent Dubrule/EPA

Passenger data will be available to countries’ security services for up to six months

The EU’s relocation plan for 120,000 refugees, agreed in September, is already in difficulty, with just several hundred refugees relocated so far. Photograph: Getty Images

Suggested move would effectively suspend the union’s Schengen system temporarily

Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen leaves the voting booth at Nyboder school in Copenhagen. Photograph: Nils Meilvang/AFP/Getty Images

Vote widely perceived as barometer of eurosceptic feeling in member state

 Copenhagen celebrates the rejection of the euro: Eurosceptic parties have framed the referendum as a question of surrendering more control over national affairs to Brussels. Photograph: Thomas Sjoerup/AFP/Getty

Denmark referendum on justice and home affairs laws will be watched closely by the UK

Catherine Day: recently retired as European Commission secretary general.   Photograph: Alan Betson

Commission vice-president praises contribution to Europe made by Irish women

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu: ‘The EU should be ashamed’. Photograph: Dan Balilty/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli prime minister suspended EU’s role in talks with Palestinians over food labelling

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici: vote could have implications for Ireland if the European Commission rules against Apple in its ongoing investigation into its tax relationship with the State. Photograph: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

States should have to inform each other of planned tax initiatives, says Econ report

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, second from left, speaks to  US secretary of state John Kerry, right, at the UN climate change conference in Paris. Photograph: New York Times

Hollande says he cannot separate fight with terrorism from fight against global warming

The Place de la Republique is covered in pairs of shoes  in  Paris, as part of a symbolic and peaceful rally called by the NGO Avaaz within the UN conference on climate change COP21. Photograph: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Kenny tells Hollande that Ireland will sign up to ‘measurable and achievable targets’

EU Council president Donald Tusk arrives for the start of the EU-Turkey summit in Brussels. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/Etienne Laurent/EPA

Plan seen as an attempt to sidestep east European countries who oppose quotas

German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu and French president François Hollande at the summit meeting  at the EU headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Thierry Monasse/AFP/Getty Images

Despite concerns about human rights Europe gives €3bn and new visa regime

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photograph: EPA

Human rights concerns set aside as issue prompts leaders to engage with Ankara

The Commission will now subject the Irish economy to an in-depth review. Photograph: Reuters

Republic one of 18 countries said to have macro-economic imbalances

All four Fine Gael MEPs voted against the committee proposal. Photograph: Reuters

European Parliament setting up successor to LuxLeaks tax rulings group

An armoured car drives along the street in Brussels, Belgium. The city has  witnessed the biggest presence of armed forces since the second World War  Photograph: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

Attack threat has unnerved a country accustomed to a deep cultural divide

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