John Brennan: Irish YES to Europe

  • Posted on 06.10.2009

John Brennan: Irish YES to Europe


John Brennan

Director Regulations and Industrial Policy

bridge building

I put it down to Irish politeness to always say “no” first when asked if we want something and to follow up with a “yes” when asked the second time.

“Will you have a cup of Lisbon tea?
Oh no thank you, I’ve had quite enough already.
Are you sure? I’ve just made some and I can sweeten it for you?
Oh in that case, yes please! I’m dying of the thirst.”

For the Medical Technology industry this can only be good news.  A better functioning Europe should further help eliminate the national bureaucracy that adds unnecessary costs with no patient benefit.

So Ireland says yes. The Poles are in line. And the Czech is in the mail. So barring any political skulduggery – skulduggery in politics? Never! I hear you cry – we will have our first European Monarch (Queen Blair?) in 2010 and a smoother functioning Europe.  I can just hear his first speech.

“We look forward to a greater Europe; one run by an efficient civil service; our future Commission will be staffed by dedicated people, intelligent people, compassionate people, fewer people…”

So will it all make a difference?  Hasn’t the EU worked well enough until now?  I think that the future success of the European project will have more to do with bridge building than the ‘Irish Yes’.

There is a theory in engineering design that says that every 50 years or so you have a major bridge collapse. The reason, so the theory goes, is that about every 50 years you have a complete new generation of bridge engineers who have either forgotten, didn’t learn or, more often, choose to ignore the lessons of their forebears. They happily expand the design envelope creating wonderful awe-inspiring structures. And then the wind blows or the whole town turns out to stand on the bridge and admire it, and the bridge falls down.

The EU is 52 years old this year.  If it really wants to ensure future peace, prosperity and stability, Brussels will have to spend less time on internal processes and more time on its bridges with the ordinary citizen; and who wouldn’t say YES to that.

– John Brennan Eucomed Director Regulatory and Technical Affairs

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