Brian Hayes MEP

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Juncker’s €315 billion plan could fund major projects for Ireland – Hayes

Brian Hayes MEP today called on the government to develop a coherent plan to tap into the potential of Jean-Claude Juncker’s €315 billion investment plan for Europe.

“EU Member States are going to be competing with each other to get ahead of the curve on Juncker’s Investment plan. With €315 billion potential financing available, every EU country will want to get major infrastructure projects selected for funding.”

“The government needs a coherent plan to tap into the potential of Juncker’s plan. The focus should be on big ticket items which could transform the economy. The government should place emphasis on projects such as Metro North and the delivery of a significant number of social housing units, particularly for Dublin.”

“A list of potential projects for the plan has been drawn up by various government departments but has not got formal government approval. The government needs to act quickly on this as time is of the essence and project approval will develop rapidly.

“The financing mechanism which underpins the Juncker plan (European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)) has already been agreed in June between the European Parliament and the European Council. I am informed that the fund will become operational in September.”

“I will be seeking a meeting with the European Investment Bank (EIB) once the government has set out its position. As the EIB will play a key role in selecting and approving projects, I intend to work with the EIB to promote Ireland’s projects. Given the fact that Ireland has come through a bailout programme and had about 20% of GDP stripped from the economy, Ireland should be afforded a higher share of project financing.”

“I am sure that bigger Member States such as Germany, France and Poland will be well prepared for this and will already have forward-looking plans in place to maximise their gains from the plan. I would like to see a strong commitment from government that it will set out detailed plans which target ambitious results.”

“Juncker’s €315 billion investment plan is not the silver bullet to Europe’s economic problems but it can address many infrastructure problems that Ireland is facing. It will also provide employment opportunities and can spur growth in various parts of the country.”

Airline records are essential in fight against terrorism- Hayes

Fine Gael MEP for Dublin, Brian Hayes has called for new EU laws to be introduced that would oblige airlines to give police in EU countries the data of passengers in order to help fight terrorism. Passenger Name Record (PNR) data is information provided by passengers and collected by airlines during reservation and check-in procedures.

“Since 2011 the EU have been debating this issue. Concerns about data protection and privacy have been to the forefront of the debate. Currently information on passengers is only provided to police for international flights.”

“Given the times we are now living in I believe it is essential that this procedure is followed for all flights. Safety and security is paramount. It makes no sense that data analysis should be limited to international flights only. Flights between EU Member States are as relevant. A PNR system is only useful if it applies to all flights.”

“As things stand the use of PNR data is not currently regulated at EU level. Ireland does not use PNR data for security and law enforcement purposes. We do not have a system for gathering PNR data from airlines. However this would change if agreement is reached at an EU level.”

“Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has been in continuous contact with me on this issue and has left me in no doubt that Ireland has consistently supported the proposed EU Laws. We cannot delay on a vital tool in the fight against terrorism for much longer. We must give police and security services across the EU the help they need to keep us safe” concluded Mr Hayes.

Cut through EU Red Tape with SOLVE IT

Brian Hayes MEP today (XXXX) said that Irish businesses who are experiencing difficulties with public authorities in other EU Member States can have problems resolved within 10 weeks using the European Union’s ‘SOLVE IT’ website.

“SOLVEIT has a base in each EU member state but works mainly online. Issues that it can help businesses with include trade and services problems, issues with vehicles, insurance, cross border movement of funds as well as VAT refunds.”

“The services of SOLVIT are not solely unique to businesses. Individuals can also look for issues to be resolved. Irish citizens experiencing difficulties in other EU Member States with family benefits, pensions, obtaining access to education or working can all use the services of SOLVEIT.”

“SOLVEIT is not a solution for solving disputes between Irish and other EU companies or consumer issues. It also cannot help if a person or business is seeking compensation or there is a pending court case. Effectively it is a tool to cut through red tape in public authorities in EU Member States.”

Banks need to beef up financial education for consumers – Hayes

Dublin MEP Brian Hayes today said that there was an opportunity in light of the OECD/PISA Education report for banks and other financial institutions to educate potential consumers and the public at large on confusing financial issues.

“The financial crash caused immense damage to the Irish economy and to the lives of many, many thousands of people. The banking enquiry is exposing disturbing levels of professional incompetence at the most senior level of Irish banking and banking regulation. High levels of financial illiteracy among the wider public was also a contributory factor to the crash.”

“Ulster Banks initiative of MoneySense is an excellent example of how students can develop their financial capability. It is an interactive online curriculum designed to give young people the skills to manage their money.”

“There is an opportunity for banks across Ireland to develop similar online educational tools to inform their clients and the public at large on complex financial issues. I believe the government needs to provide funding as encouragement for banks to set up similar initiatives to Ulster Bank’s MoneySense. There is also a compelling case for having a module on Personal Finances as part of the Transition year curriculum.”

“The results from the 2012 survey conducted by the OECD/PISA are quiet worrying. Although Ireland performs above the OECD average in primary and secondary education, it is a long way of the top performing countries like Netherlands and Switzerland. I believe it is important to start the financial education process as early possible to reduce the gap between Ireland and other top preforming OECD countries.”

“This is an opportunity for Ireland to be at the forefront in Europe in developing such services and hopefully this will lead to Ireland becoming one of the top countries in financial literacy. This is all about developing financial security for people and making sure mistakes of the past are not repeated.”

Ireland has 4th highest support for humanitarian aid within EU according to euro barometer – Hayes


Good time to set out realistic timeframe to achieve the 0.7% commitments.

Member of the European Parliament’s Development Committee, Brian Hayes MEP has welcomed increased support for humanitarian aid. The survey was carried out for the European Commission as part of its Eurobarometer series by the polling company Behaviour and Attitudes.

“Totally support” and “tend to support” for humanitarian aid in Ireland stood at 91% compared to a European figure of 85%. Ireland has the 4th highest support for humanitarian aid in the 28 Member States of the EU behind Croatia (95%), Lithuania (93%) and Sweden (92%).

“A survey carried out in Ireland for the European Commission in 2012 showed 34% ‘totally supported’ humanitarian aid, now that figure stands at 53%, a 17% increase. It’s clear that as our economy recovers Irish people’s support for humanitarian aid grows. In fact we are ahead of our European counter parts. The survey carried out in Ireland by Behaviour and Attitudes in March shows that a clear majority 53%, in Ireland ‘totally support’ humanitarian aid compared to 39% across the 28 Member States of the EU.”

“The result of this survey is timely as we reach the halfway point in the European Year of Development. On a daily basis I meet politicians, diplomats and NGOs in Brussels who admire our strong bi lateral aid programmes with third countries as an excellent model of development cooperation.

“I believe that as a country coming back from the brink; more self-confident about the future, an increased Official Development Aid (ODA) budget reflects the values of the Irish people. Setting out a timeframe to achieve our 0.7% ODA target is the right thing to do at this stage in our recovery. There is in my view public support for it and equally the international community will want to know how long it will take to honour our commitments,” concluded Mr Hayes.

150,000 family businesses forced to close each year in the EU- Hayes

Government should commit to further tax relief and exemptions for family business transfers


Brian Hayes MEP today said transfers of family businesses from one generation to another should be made easier, given the fact that approximately 150,000 family businesses are forced to close in the EU each year.

“Family businesses are the lifeblood of Ireland’s economy. Around 75% of all Irish firms are family owned businesses. Together they contribute more than 50% of the country’s GDP and approximately 50% of employment.

“Recent figures from the European Commission estimate that 150,000 businesses are forced to close each year in the EU leading to a loss of 600,000 jobs due to the difficulties of business transfers from one familial generation to the next.

“According to a 2014 PWC survey on family businesses, only one in ten Irish family businesses have a succession plan that is robust and properly documented.

“Although there is specific tax relief and exemptions for family businesses, Ireland imposes high inheritance and retirement taxes on family businesses compared to other European countries. The government needs to provide further tax relief for family businesses to make it easier for family businesses to survive.

“In Germany, family recipients of business assets are exempt from 85% of inheritance taxes if the owners do not cut jobs and wages for five years. This makes sense for keeping employment and keeping small business growth ticking over.

“In 2014 KPMG surveyed 23 countries on family business practice. The results show that Ireland ranks 4th highest in terms of the headline rate of tax due on succession through inheritance and 3rd highest in terms of the headline rate of tax due on succession on retirement. This needs to change.

“The full impact of family businesses to the Irish economy is much greater than GDP or employment figures. They are a hugely important part of the fabric of rural and urban communities.”

Opponents of Trade Agreement are ‘Scaremongering’ – Hayes

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (XXXX) criticised the ‘scaremongering’ that is taking place in relation to the ongoing negotiations of a trade deal between the EU and the US. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations have been taken place since 2014 and will hopefully conclude with a deal that is good for jobs and good for investment.

“I have never said that there are no risks with doing a deal with the United States. But change is inevitable. Europe needs this deal more than the United States because Europe is falling behind.”

“TTIP holds huge potential for Ireland through better market access for Irish companies in the USA. Some 21% of all Irish exports already go to the US and an additional €2.4 billion could be added to our real national income with a successful trade agreement.”

“More than any other country in Europe we are so well positioned to take up the opportunities of a TTIP deal.”

“Establishing a trade agreement means the creation of more jobs and investment in Ireland. It is about abolishing customs duty for companies, dismantling regulatory barriers and improving co-operation when establishing international standards. It means a company based in Ireland employing 30 people would be able sell their products directly to customers in the USA without paying customs taxes and other tariffs. Ultimately it means more profit for the Irish company, allowing it to expand and employ more people.”

“In any dispute between countries a means of resolving disputes has to be found. The ISDS process is transparent in that publically appointed, independent judges in public hearings will preside over the rulings. There will be no secret courts as claimed by opponents of TTIP.”

“I am not suggesting that this potential deal is without risks. I’m not suggesting it is perfect – but at the very least people should withhold their judgement until we have a final deal that can be voted upon.”

What is really depressing about the comments made so far from opponents is that they are all about party politics and trying to gain narrow party advantage. Exaggerated claims and arguments that the opponents know are baseless go unchallenged. We need a rational debate – dealing honesty with the pros and cons – rather than knee jerk reactions,” concluded Mr Hayes.