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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 12 Mar 1991

Vol. 406 No. 3

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - EUROPEN Campaign.

Ruairí Quinn


2 Mr. Quinn asked the Taoiseach if he will outline the proposed programme of work for 1991 of the EUROPEN campaign; the number of staff involved; the budget allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The EUROPEN campaign which was co-ordinated by my Department was concentrated in 1988 and 1989, with some run-over into 1990. As had always been intended, the Government's continuing activities designed to promote preparation for the completion of the Single European Market are now being carried out by the Government Departments and State agencies appropriate in each case. If the Deputy has a specific query in regard to any area, I suggest he table a question to the appropriate Minister.

Is the Taoiseach aware that in medium-sized enterprises where jobs will be threatened by the completion of the internal market the employers are aware of neither the potential threats nor the potential benefits facing them and, more to the point, the employees whose jobs will be at risk are not being kept informed at all? Can the Taoiseach indicate which Minister of the various Ministers will have responsibility for ensuring that employees who legitimately want to find out if their employer is availing of all the aids provided by the State can get this information?

I am surprised that the Deputy should say that that is the situation because the whole purpose of the EUROPEN campaign was to give all that sort of information. In fact, there was a major participation by the trade unions in EUROPEN to deal with the very situation the Deputy has spoken about, namely, the trade unions were to have the function of keeping employees in firms fully informed by means of seminars, discussions and so on. Of course, there is also an obligation on management to keep them fully informed. I could not accept what the Deputy has said. Indeed, so much effort has been put into this campaign now that I would be surprised if any employer is not aware of what is facing him or her in 1992.

I want to put it to the Taoiseach that, if he were to visit any of the medium-sized organisations representing employers at present and to ask them to identify the directives, draft or completed, which will directly impact upon them after 1992 they would not be able to answer that question. Neither would they be able to answer where the likely source of competition will come from after the completion of the internal market. Those are the two bottom line questions which need to be answered. Unfortunately, the campaign to which the Taoiseach referred has not got down to that specific level yet.

If the Deputy knows about a particular sector or even a part of some sector where the situation he described obtains I would be very glad to follow it up. I would have to say that there was a major and comprehensive countrywide effort made——

That was at the beginning.

——under the EUROPEN campaign not just by the Government agencies but by the employers, trade unions and everyone concerned. I would be surprised if there was any major gap in the information available to firms or their employees.

May I ask the Taoiseach if either he or any member of the Government has made any comparisons in relation to the campaign of preparedness for 1992 among our EC partners to evaluate the effectiveness of our campaign as opposed to theirs?

That has been done. The efforts being made around Europe and Britain have been studied by the different people involved in the EUROPEN campaign.