Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits

  • Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar (c), with his colleagues from Malta and Germany (Photo: Council of the European Union)

French president Emmanuel Macron was not the only novice arriving in Brussels this week for his first ever EU summit, or European Council meeting.

Ireland's new prime minister, Leo Varadkar, also had his summit debut.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Varadkar: 'It's just politicians in the room. There are no officials there with you' (Photo: Council of the European Union)

“It's an interesting experience, being in the European Council for the first time,” he said.

He told journalists on Friday (23 June) that the format is much more dynamic than he was used to.

"It is very informal," Varadkar said, noting that government leaders call each other by their first names.

"Leo" was elected prime minister earlier this month, but is not new to the EU stage.

Before he became prime minister, he was minister for transport (2011-2014), minister for health (2014-2016), and minister for social protection (2016-2017).

The Irish politician represented his country in EU ministerial meetings, called Council of Ministers (or Council of the EU). That format was “very different” from the leaders' summit gathering, Varadkar said.

“Because it's just politicians in the room. There are no officials there with you,” he said.

“Council of Ministers tends to be people reading out statements to each other. This is very different. It's very dynamic.”

“It's people talking with a document in front of them, making changes to those documents, and changing the language and wording, and the meaning, without reference to officials or advisers,” said Varadkar.

“I really felt that the elected politicians were in control, which isn't the way you necessarily feel all the time in politics. It's a very good dynamic in that sense.”

The Irish leader praised the fact that the debates were “very frank”.

“People don't speak in riddles, people are very frank in terms of their views on things. Where there are differences of opinion, there are differences of opinion.”

Analysis

So what if the Irish PM is gay?

Taoiseach's sexual orientation has grabbed headlines, but history shows that gay politicians seldom promote LGBT rights.

Gay, under-40 politican to rule Ireland

Leo Varadkar said his election as leader of the ruling part was an "unlikely story". He assured he would stick to the EU position in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.

Amsterdam wins EU medicines agency on coin toss

The staff of the London-based EMA will move to the Dutch city of Amsterdam after Brexit, following a coin toss. Chance also decided the new home of the European Banking Authority: Paris.

MEP switches vote on 'private expenses' transparency

A small group of MEPs are looking into how members of the European Parliament spend the monthly €4,300 'private expenses' funded by taxpayer money. Last month, MEPs voted on transparency amendments on the funds.

MEP switches vote on 'private expenses' transparency

A small group of MEPs are looking into how members of the European Parliament spend the monthly €4,300 'private expenses' funded by taxpayer money. Last month, MEPs voted on transparency amendments on the funds.

News in Brief

  1. Spain sends migrant arrivals to unfinished prison
  2. Iceland prepares for biggest volcano to blow
  3. Greek parliament postpones debate on Saudi arms deal
  4. Family of murdered Malta journalist to sue police
  5. UK to sell RBS bank stake, boosting government coffers
  6. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  7. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  8. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  2. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  3. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  4. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  5. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  6. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  8. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  9. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  10. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  11. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  12. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children

Latest News

  1. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  2. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  3. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  4. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  5. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  6. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  7. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  8. Commission warns Italy over high debt level