Our uncertain world
Even apart from Brexit, this period is one of immense insecurity for many people. There are big changes happening in the world of work, associated with rapid technological advances. There are insecurities arising from how our privacy is affected through the wholesale commercial capturing of our personal data. And there is an existential insecurity for our planet in the face of climate change, with an urgent need to plan for a just transition to a low-carbon world.
All generations have to face change and its impact. But the changes we are witnessing now are at a new level. They sometimes appear almost overwhelming in their magnitude. These new challenges can and must be confronted for the sake of this and future generations.
No country acting alone can hope to deal effectively with climate change, employee rights in the digital economy, or corporate tax justice.
These problems can only be solved through international solidarity and robust institutions that can legislate and regulate across national boundaries.
My priorities as a Member of the European Parliament would be:
- practical legal and regulatory steps to protect employment rights in the gig economy, and to address the excessive power and influence of the tech giants in this new ‘age of data’;
- solidarity in confronting climate change, taking up the many positive opportunities that now exist to invest for green and sustainable growth, and a just energy transition;
- tackling rising inequality, and the associated failure internationally to implement a just taxation regime, ensuring that multinational corporates pay their fair share;
- significant renewal of capital spending on physical and digital infrastructure, especially needed in the wake of the economic crash, which caused a dramatic fall-off in investment;
- a vision for Dublin as a great European city, where energy efficiency, land and resource management, and the smart deployment of technology enhance the ‘liveability’ of our city.
My experience as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources would be of great assistance in progressing these and other objectives in the European Parliament. As a practising lawyer, with a specialism in employment law, I have a deep knowledge and understanding of the world of work, and of the kinds of laws and measures the EU could take to address the changes that are occurring, and that seem likely to accelerate in the coming years.