Kenny warns failure to strike budget deal will undermine Irish presidency
Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned as he arrived for last night’s summit that any failure to strike a budget deal would undermine the authority of Ireland’s EU presidency .
Saying European leaders were setting out from a “very pessimistic” base in the talks, he vowed to strongly defend Ireland’s €1.7 billion share of the annual agriculture budget. “It remains to be seen in what can be a very long night as to whether agreement can actually be reached,” Mr Kenny said.
“This is important in terms of sending out a message about Europe, about European leaders, that they actually can come to an agreement on the future of the European Union and the euro zone, this is important in a global sense,” he added.
“It’s important that a country which has to bear considerable burdens at the moment would face a very difficult position in running an effective presidency if there is not a decision and agreement on a budget for 2014-2020. “The presidency … does not have very much authority in the absence of a decision about an overall budget.”
“Clearly we face a number of very serious challenges in respect of putting together a budget for 2014 to 2020,” he added.
“Insofar as Ireland is concerned, my intention here is to argue and negotiate and defend strongly the potential of the CAP … and also to argue strongly for the potential of the cohesion fund, with particular reference to employment.
“Also I wish to raise the importance of the peace element of the funding which is so important in respect of fragile communities in Northern Ireland.” Agricultural spending, under threat in the talks, was fundamental for Ireland, he added.
“Obviously 85 per cent of our funding comes from the CAP. It is just so important in the sense that Europe has oftentimes underestimated the potential for the development of economies and jobs and opportunities from the agri-sector.
Having said earlier there would be no bank debt relief deal until next year, Mr Kenny said he was referring specifically to his campaign to secure direct European aid for the surviving banks. “I made it clear to the questioner as well that the other half of that equation is being pursued with the ECB by the minister for finance and officials.” Asked if a deal with the European Central Bank to recast the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes was still possible this year, he said the payment date was next March.