John Bruton

Former Irish Prime Minister
John Bruton is a former Irish prime minister and an international business leader. He has held a number of posts in the Irish government, including minister for finance; minister for industry and energy; minister for trade, commerce and tourism; and minister for the public service. During his term in the Prime Minister's Office between 1994 and 1997, Bruton was deeply involved in the Northern Irish Peace Process leading up to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. He served as the European Union ambassador to the United States from 2004 to 2009. Bruton is an adviser to Fair Observer.
Social Contacts

The Education of Priests and the Future of the Catholic Church in Ireland

It is a great honor to be invited to speak at this important event.  I have lived much of my life in sight of the magnificent spire that is the centerpiece of the college.  My father told me he had met a man who sat on the cross which is at the very top of the steeple. He enquired how the man had managed this miraculous feat.  The man paused for dramatic effect and then... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Is Peace Possible in Ukraine?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine — an attempt to end the independence of a sovereign nation by force — would, if successful, set a precedent that might frighten smaller countries across the globe. It is an attack on the system of international law that has given us 80 years of relative peace in Europe and allowed international trade to develop, thereby raising living standards. The United... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Myths About History Can Lead to Future Errors

An unrealistic understanding of the past can lead popular opinion and politicians into tragic errors. The historian Felix Larkin has recently published a collection of essays, entitled “Living With History,” which deals with the use and abuse of historical commemorations — and of official versions of history — in Ireland.  Popular opinions about history frequently... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

What the World Can Learn From the Events in Afghanistan

The collapse of the Western-backed government in Afghanistan has come as a shock. It has shaken confidence in democratic countries and changed the balance of power somewhat between the United States and China. It shows that efforts from the outside to topple regimes and replace them with friendlier ones are more difficult than anyone thought 20 years ago, when NATO forces first overthrew... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

The Risk of a No-Deal Brexit Remains

The risk that we will wake up on May 1 to find we have a no-deal Brexit after all has not disappeared. The deadline for the ratification by the European Parliament of the trade deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom was due to be February 28. But Parliament postponed the deadline to April 30. It did this because it felt it could not trust the UK to implement the Trade and... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Failing to Protect the Independence of the European Commission

I have always believed that the independence of members of the European Commission (EC) was a keystone of successful European integration. Commissioners are obliged by their oath of office to seek a European solution to problems, rather than just seek a balance between conflicting national interests. They have done so ever since 1958. This is why European integration has succeeded, while... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Negotiating the End of Brexit

It is increasingly likely that, unless things change, on January 1, 2021, we will have a no-deal Brexit. That would mean the only deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom would be the already ratified EU withdrawal agreement of 2019. There are only around 50 working days left in which to make a broader agreement for a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU. The... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Brexit Is Heading for the Cliff Edge

The European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, gave a stark warning recently about the lack of progress in the post-Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom. But now, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come back to work after his battle with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The Brexit Transition Period Will Be Extended READ MORE Perhaps... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

The G20 Needs to Show Leadership to Fight COVID-19

It is welcome news that the G20, representing the world’s biggest economies and 90% of global GDP, met via teleconference on March 26 to discuss the health and economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, which leads to the COVID-19 disease. It has been obvious for several weeks that coordinated international action was needed. Given that the G20 was founded in order to deal with crises... Continue Reading

Fair Observer

Populists in the European Elections

The results of the European elections have revealed some breakthroughs for populists. There is concern about the impact of populism on rational decision-making in many Western democracies. But there is no agreement on what "populism" means. All politics appeal — to some extent — to people’s self-interest and to their preference for advantages being given to themselves, the area in which... Continue Reading

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