Taoiseach sets priorities for final weeks of Ireland’s EU presidency

Fri, May 17, 2013, 22:27

Warning that the creation of jobs depended on swift action by EU leaders, the Taoiseach has appealed to his counterparts in Paris, Berlin, London and elsewhere for help to advance initiatives to boost growth and employment.

In a letter to his 26 EU counterparts, Mr Kenny said he was directly seeking their support to address several “critical challenges” in the remaining 44 days of the Irish presidency.

Mr Kenny’s initiative to mobilise the other leaders comes days before an EU summit next Wednesday, at which the leaders will discuss energy policy, and a further summit at the end of June, at which they hope to conclude debate on a number of contentious policies.
Budget agreement
Mr Kenny urged European leaders to help the Government to strike a deal on the EU’s €1 trillion budget in the final weeks of its presidency.

Other priorities include the settlement of a negotiating mandate for talks on an EU-US trade agreement and the drive to forge a deal on new laws to “resolve” failing banking.

In relation to a trade deal with the US, Mr Kenny said Europe should not lose the opportunity to open formal negotiations with Washington.

“When I discussed these issues with President Obama, I was impressed by his commitment to the creation of a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership,” he said.

Talks on the seven-year EU budget framework broke down last November and Ireland has been seeking since January to revive the process. The budget package, known as the multi-annual financial framework, must be agreed soon as a considerable body of complex legislation must be enacted before it comes into force next year.

While a key hurdle was passed this week when finance ministers reached agreement on €7.3 billion in additional expenditure this year, Mr Kenny said there was no time to lose to advance the wider initiative.

“One of the most pressing and important tasks for the Presidency is now entering a critical stage,” Mr Kenny wrote. “For both stability and growth, it is essential that the Multi-Annual Financial Framework is soon in place.”