Gilmore says debt deal to be priority
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said the central theme of Ireland's EU presidency would be "getting the European economy back on track".
This would be done by "improving the EU’s global competitiveness, promoting economic growth and creating jobs”, Mr Gilmore said as he outlined the State's priorities for the presidency which begins in January.
Moves to allow the European Security Mechanism to “directly recapitalise banks” would be “a priority both for Ireland nationally and as presidency of the EU,” Mr Gilmore said. The Irish presidency would work on deposit guarantee schemes and bank resolution and recovery as part of this, he said.
Ireland wants to see legacy debt included in the resolution of the banking problems, he said. One of the issues to be addressed in the early part of 2013 is the definition of legacy assets and legacy debt, he added.
Jobs would be an area of focus for the Irish presidency with youth unemployment prioritised, Mr Gilmore said. Everything must be done to foster an environment in which jobs can be created, he said. The presidency would aim to get a consensus on the principles of a youth guarantee, he said. “Stability, jobs and growth” is the motto of the Irish presidency, he said.
Mr Gilmore said the presidency would be seeking to get the European Parliament’s agreement on the EU’s trillion-euro long term budget was “fit for purpose” by the end of 2013.
Next year would be important for Ireland economically as it “aims to be the first country to emerge from an EU-IMF programme,” he said.
Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton said it would be a “no nonsense presidency”. A major focus would be a single market for the future, she said.
A joint press conference was held in Brussels this morning between Ireland and Cyprus, the outgoing holders of the six-month presidency.
The presidency will involve Irish ministers chairing meetings of the other member states on issues such as finance, environment, justice and trade. Eleven such meetings will take place in Ireland, with almost 180 presidency events taking place.
The presidency will cost up to €60 million overall – down from the last presidency in 2004 which cost €110 million – with an extra €10 million to go towards security costs to cover both the presidency and the recent meeting in Dublin of the foreign ministers of the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Among the costs to the State for the presidency will be €24 million on catering, accommodation, transport, interpretation and venue costs. Another €20 million will be spent on extra staff for Government departments.
Refurbishing Dublin Castle where most meetings will take place, providing extra office space for Ireland’s embassy to the EU, stationery and introducing an accreditation system for the 15,000 delegates expected will cost €12 million.
A cultural programme of 300 events planned by the Arts Council to be held in Ireland and abroad will cost €3 million.