A renewed flare-up of Brexit and a possible trade war are leading the government to rethink Paschal Donohoe’s move to the reshuffle.
ianna Fáil is set to take over as finance secretary in December’s rotation of top government posts, meaning Mr Donohoe would be relinquishing one of Europe’s most powerful roles.
The Fine Gael minister chairs the group of finance ministers of countries using the euro, but he would then lose this hugely influential post.
Tory leader Liz Truss, the expected next UK Prime Minister, is stepping up her threats over the Northern Ireland Protocol. A breach of the Brexit agreement risks a trade war with the EU – and Ireland in the middle.
Fine Gael is advocating within the coalition for Mr Donohoe to remain as Treasury Secretary and not swap roles with Fianna Fáil, Public Expenditure Secretary Michael McGrath.
“Who knows what the next issue will be – corporate taxes, recession in Europe, Brexit. Why should we give up such an influential role when Brexit is about to begin again? What about Ireland in the heart of Europe?” shared a government source Irish
Forcing Phil Hogan’s resignation as EU commissioner over the Gulfgate controversy means the government has already given up a major role in Europe.
“Europe realizes that we have said goodbye to a big job with Phil Hogan. Do the same in relation to the role of the Eurogroup, you will be wondering what Ireland is up to,” a government source said.
Fianna Fáil argues that the role swap for finance and public spending was agreed with Fine Gael as part of the rotating Taoiseach deal.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is set to swap jobs with Taoiseach Micheál Martin in mid-December as part of a cabinet reshuffle. In addition to the office of Taoiseach, key constitutional positions such as the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General are also to change.
Public Expenditure Secretary Michael McGrath is expected to become Fianna Fáil’s choice as Treasury Secretary. However, the presidency of the Eurogroup does not go to him because it is up to the individual.
“Michael and Paschal will continue to work very closely together and get along well. It’s good for the stability of the government between the parties,” another government source said.
Mr McGrath would be Fianna Fáil’s first Treasury Secretary since the late Brian Lenihan, whose last act was to request the bailout.
Supporters of Mr Donohoe argue that his influence played a role in last year’s agreement on Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate. Although the government signed a global minimum of 15 percent, specific concessions were made
Mr Donohoe beat his counterparts from Spain and Luxembourg in an election for Eurogroup President in mid-2020 and his term runs until January 2023, a month after the reshuffle.
Eurogroup membership was defined in the EU Treaties as “finance ministers” of euro area member states.
“The minister needs to have the right attributions and support from his government to be able to represent his country in the Eurogroup,” says the Eurogroup.
Mr Donohoe is considered virtually guaranteed in Europe for a second term as President of the Eurogroup if he becomes Ireland’s finance minister.
Lobbying for the role begins months in advance, so there is already interest in Mr Donohoe’s availability in European capitals.
“The procedure and date for the next elections have not yet been determined – they will be announced by the Eurogroup President, with the Eurogroup’s consent, in good time before the end of his term of office,” says the Eurogroup.
Ireland’s influence in Europe has been damaged by the saga surrounding Mr Hogan’s resignation.
In his second term, Mr Hogan was EU Commissioner for Trade, an extremely powerful assignment that played a direct role in relation to Brexit.
His successor, Mairead McGuinness, was given the financial services mandate, which is seen as a less important role in Brussels.
In her most prominent act, she has sparked consternation by calling gas and nuclear investments green, prompting a backlash from Green MPs and Fianna Fáil.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/fears-over-brexit-sparks-rethink-on-paschal-donohoe-changing-ministerial-role-41943503.html Fears about Brexit prompt rethinking if Paschal Donohoe changes minister’s role