A bit of Ireland in Brussels

Don’t stir the glass jug too much or it’ll break – those were the first words I heard as I sat down for a breakfast meeting in the European Parliament last week. Ian Talbot, CEO of Chambers Ireland, was explaining to me that the last time he was here, he stirred the jug of orange juice too voraciously, resulting in the glass jug smashing to pieces and juice going everywhere. I decided a cup of tea was safer.

Spillage risk aside, I was feeling pretty excited about meeting 6 MEPs in the Parliament that morning as part of Chambers Ireland network delegation in Brussels. The upcoming European elections in May naturally took center stage to the discussions from both sides. For Lilly, the outcomes of those elections are critical in determining how the next EU mandate is going to support patient access to medicines and maintain & enhance conditions for future innovation & investment.

Irish MEPs Seán Kelly, Mairead McGuinness, Deirdre Clune, Brian Hayes, Marian Harkin and Matt Carthy were keen to hear from Chambers Ireland on what the EU has meant to business on the ground in Ireland these past 5 years, and what is hoped for from the next 5-year mandate.

The MEPs have been busy, with 23,551 votes carried out under this European Parliament term (2014-2019) so far, and no sign of the next term (2019-2024) being any quieter. A core part of the Chambers’ work is to assess legislation debated and agreed at European level to ensure Irish business can contribute to changes that may affect them in the future. Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot presented the MEPs with its manifesto and called on them to deliver if elected. He equally urged businesses and their employees to proactively engage with election candidates and highlight their priority concerns ahead of the upcoming election: “We call on businesses and citizens to seize this opportunity to make their voices heard and shape the future of Europe and the degree to which Ireland will benefit.”

With Lilly sites across Europe in Italy, France, Spain, Ireland and the UK, the European Parliament elections are an excellent opportunity to show the commitment of the EU to rewarding innovation, speeding up patient access to new innovative medicines, and supporting the biopharmaceutical manufacturing footprint in Europe.