EU banking a 'burden for presidency', says Schulz


European Parliament president Martin Schulz said finalising the euro zone banking union would be a “burden for the Irish presidency” when he met Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore in Dublin yesterday.

Mr Schulz said the banking union plan to include a single supervisor and single resolution mechanism would be a key element during next month’s summit but he doubted it would be completed in December. Ireland’s EU presidency begins on New Year’s Day, following a handover ceremony on New Year’s Eve.

“Therefore I’m afraid but I must say it clearly there will be another burden for the Irish presidency because I think we will switch to January, February, March,” he said.

Mr Schulz said more regulation of the financial markets was a major goal of the European Parliament. Although the proposals were considered controversial in some quarters, he was sure they would be understood in Ireland. “In a country which was severely affected by the crisis and is still under enormous pressure, the understanding for such necessity is higher than in other countries,” he said.

Mr Schulz said major challenges lay ahead. “I have a lot of trust in the Irish presidency and the efficiency of your government to negotiate in a way that we can find a fair deal between the member states.”

Mr Kenny said he was hopeful a long-term EU budget could be agreed. “Am I confident that we can put a budget together? I have to believe so,” he said.

He said Mr Schulz was well aware that Ireland was a “true and honest broker” in its dealings with the EU. The Irish presidency would be “in the business of solutions” because that was what citizens expected. “Making a difference will actually be the test of the Irish presidency,” he said. Policy priorities would centre on stability, jobs and growth.

Mr Gilmore said pushing for a deal on the EU budget was high on his agenda. This would be vital in strengthening social cohesion and fighting unemployment.