Taoiseach says political agreement reached on EU budget

Securing deal on seven-year budget was one of the Government’s prime targets for presidency

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso with Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a meeting on the Multiannual Financial Framework. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso with Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a meeting on the Multiannual Financial Framework. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters


Ireland’s EU presidency has reached “political agreement” with the European Parliament on a new seven-year budget for European member states.

The deal, reached at talks this morning in Brussels, is subject to the approval of member states and MEPs, who will vote on the proposal next week.

At a press conference this morning in Brussels, Taoiseach Enda Kenny expressed confidence that all member states would back the agreement.

Video: Press Conference

“We came here this morning to get a political agreement and I am happy that we have got that political agreement,” Mr Kenny said. “It is an example of Europe being able to resolve matters when it puts its mind to it”.

The overall package is worth some €960 billion to be dispersed between 2014 and 2020.

President of the parliament Martin Schulz cautioned there was still a “fight” to be had in the parliament to secure the agreement of MEPs for the package. “This is not what I thought would be the best solution,” he said. “One per cent of something is more than 100 per cent of nothing and therefore I can live with the result and I will fight for the result.”

At the same time Mr Shulz said a clause under which the budget will be subject to formal review was crucial.

President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso noted that the text of the agreement embraced a commitment on the part of member states to agree an amending budget for the remainder of this year.

This had been a key stumbling block during the course of long negotiations.

In talks last week Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore had reached agreement on the seven-year plan with the lead negotiator for the parliament Alain Lamassoure.

However, negotiators for political groups in the parliament said immediately afterwards they could not back that proposal.

A number of senior MEPs accused Mr Gilmore of prematurely claiming that agreement had been reached on the so-called Multi-Annual Financial Framework last week.

Mr Gilmore said this morning the agreement now on the table was “very significant” and a compromise which fell within the negotiating mandate given to the Irish presidency by other member states.

Mr Gilmore said he was satisfied the agreement now reached will succeed because it would be a fair compromise.

A vote on the parliament is now scheduled for its plenary session next week in Strasbourg. Member states have resolved to sign off on the amending 2013 budget by no later than then next meeting of finance ministers on July 9th.

Mr Schutz, however, has indicated that it would be preferable to have the agreement of member states before the vote of the parliament.

The agreement marks an important success for the Irish presidency which concludes this weekend. Securing agreement on the budget was one of the Government’s prime targets when it took over the rotating presidency of the council of the EU in January.

The political agreement follows a deal yesterday on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.

While payments under the Multi-Annual Financial Framework do not start until January 1st, a number of job-promoting initiatives due to be discussed at a summit of EU leaders today were dependent on this funding.

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