Supervisory role for euro zone banks to be set up by 'end of 2012'


THE GOVERNMENT intends that the supervisory mechanism for euro zone banks announced as part of last week’s EU deal will be in place before Ireland takes over the EU presidency next year.

Following a meeting with European Parliament president Martin Schultz in Strasbourg yesterday, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said that, though he was reluctant to put a specific timetable on any set of negotiations, “the intention is that the supervisory mechanism will be in place by the end of 2012.

“We are going to conduct our discussions with the European institutions and through the euro zone group in parallel with that process.”

Mr Gilmore said the application of last week’s deal to Ireland’s debt situation was one of a number of issues discussed with Mr Schultz, adding that he had discussed the issue with the European Parliament president on a number of occasions. “He has been very helpful and very supportive to Ireland in what we are trying to achieve.”

Mr Gilmore was one of a number of Irish politicians and officials who travelled to Strasbourg for meetings with officials as part of preparations for Ireland’s presidency of the European Council which begins in January.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney met a number of senior European figures in the area of common agricultural policy reform yesterday, including the chairman of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, Paolo De Castro.

Earlier, in an address to the European Parliament, Cypriot president Demetris Christofias outlined his plans for Cyprus’s presidency which commenced this week. Among the priorities he identified were a focus on the Common Agricultural and Fisheries policy, with special emphasis on developing an integrated maritime policy, a commitment to deepening the internal market, and an effort to make Europe “more relevant to its citizens.”

He also said that enhancing European relations with Arabic countries located to the south of Europe would be a key priority during the Cypriot presidency. “Under the major political upheavals taking place on the southern Mediterranean coast, we believe that special attention should be paid to the southern dimension of European Neighbourhood Policy.”

On the subject of Cyprus’s ongoing tensions with Turkey, which occupies the Northern part of the island, Mr Christofias hinted that Cyprus would not seek to use the presidency as a way of dealing with its own issues with Turkey. “[We] . . . will not allow any problems that the occupying power may create from derailing us from exercising an entirely European presidency,” he said.