Analysis > Tony Connelly

Conscientious objection a controversial issue in Italy’s abortion regime

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, Brussels It may come as a surprise, but a relatively liberal abortion regime has existed in Italy since 1978. Law 194 was introduced following a determined campaign by women’s groups, but also due to the rise in illegal abortions. In 1981 there was a move by Catholic groups, supported by the church, to overturn the law, but it was defeated by nearly 68% in a referendum. A second referendum saw support for legal abortion rise …

Bailing in or bailing out: Depositors and the painful road to a banking union

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, Brussels In Ireland we know only too well the cost of burdening the taxpayer with the fallout from a collapsing bank. The sins of the financial sector placed a €64 billion weight on the shoulders of current and future generations.

EU Budget 2.0: Crunch Time for Ireland’s Presidency

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, Brussels In November EU leaders failed to agree a new seven-year budget to run from 2014 to 2020. At the time Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Ireland would not have much authority going into our presidency if a deal wasn’t struck. The presidency is now under way, with little indication that November’s failure has had any discernible effect. However, failure to strike a deal this week would not do Ireland’s presidency any favours. “The consequences of …

The Irish Presidency: Priorities and Pitfalls

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, Brussels Back in June 2004 Bertie Ahern was showered in adulation by his European counterparts. Ireland had just successfully negotiated the mammoth EU Constitution using its storied negotiating skills to reconcile vastly conflicting agendas – big countries versus small ones, voting rights at the Council of Ministers, the size of the European Commission, how to bridge an alarming democratic deficit.

Eurozone: the Great Leap Forward?

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, Brussels For three years eurozone governments lurched from one crisis to the next, improvising with one ad-hoc solution after another, amid a rising tide of austerity-driven recession. However, having for so long taken the road ill-travelled, it may just be that the eurozone is finally confronting the hard choices needed first to save – then to rebuild – the single currency.

Fears for an EU seven-year glitch

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, Brussels This week 27 EU leaders will gather in Brussels to thrash out the next seven-year budget round. While Europe needs to demonstrate to the world it can function in the face of a crisis, a number of pretty unpleasant things may well collide: a possible UK veto, hours of acrimony over money, rich countries pitted against poor ones, reputational damage to the EU on top of the Greek crisis, and the undermining of Ireland’s …

A Bank Debt Deal: The Morning After Optimism

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, Brussels When back in June eurozone leaders hatched a deal on bank debt in the early hours of the morning during a summit in Brussels, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny described it as a “seismic shift”. The breakthrough that would lift the burden of Ireland’s appalling bank debt would off the taxpayers’ shoulders had finally arrived.

Nudging Britain towards the exit: The Rise of Tory Euroscepticism

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, Brussels By any measure the current brand of Tory euroscepticism is more visceral, and poses more of a systemic threat to Britain’s EU membership than at any other time in the past 50 years. Antagonism towards Europe has been building and now it’s coming to a head. By pulling the Tories out of the centre-right European political group, the European People’s Party (EPP), David Cameron signalled he was prepared to submit to that force before …

Spanish budget may offer bailout clues

By Tony Connelly, Europe Editor, in Madrid Now that the Spanish budget has been presented we should know more about when the government of Mariano Rajoy will move into full bailout mode. The centre-right prime minister has delayed long and hard before seeking a rescue, but the European Commission has warned that it is a dangerous game which could deepen the country’s economic woes, and stop the fragile sense of eurozone optimism in its tracks.

Stuttgart seeking Ireland’s IT talent

By Tony Connelly, RTE Europe Editor, in Stuttgart Stuttgart may live long in Irish folklore as the place where, in 1988, a certain Ray Houghton put the ball in the English net, but could it become the Promised Land for Irish IT graduates? “I think the Irish would do very well, particularly in this part of Germany,” says Mark Hyland, a graduate from Roscrea who now teaches English to executives at the huge Mercedes Benz production facility outside Stuttgart.