European Commission College visit completes week of high-level engagements to discuss Ireland’s EU Presidency priorities
The President of the European Commission, Mr José Manuel Barroso and the College of Commissioners visited Dublin today for meetings with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and members of the Government to discuss working together with the Irish Presidency on its key priorities of delivering stability, jobs and growth for Europe.
Opening a plenary meeting between the Commission and the Government, the Taoiseach and Tánaiste outlined how Ireland plans to tackle issues of concern to all Europeans including youth unemployment, promoting stability through the Banking Union, and driving future growth through the Digital Agenda. The Irish Presidency also reiterated its commitment to work in close cooperation with the European Commission and other institutions, including the European Parliament, to address the major issues currently facing the European Union.
Enda Kenny, Taoiseach (Prime Minister of Ireland): We had excellent meetings today with the Commission. We found an enormous amount of common ground in terms of our agenda for stability, jobs and growth in Europe, while President Barroso and his team are very conscious of Ireland’s own recovery story in the context of Europe’s recovery agenda. We look forward to our partnership with them in the coming six months.
This meeting was followed by a short tête-à-tête meeting between the Taoiseach and President Barroso. Irish Ministers also met their Commission counterparts in a number of thematic meetings to discuss policy areas in greater detail and to outline how the Irish Presidency plans to deliver on its objective of Stability, Jobs and Growth across all Council configurations.
Speaking at a press conference with the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, Commission President Barroso welcomed the Irish Presidency programme and stressed the support of the Commission in working with the Presidency to restore the EU to stability and growth.
Eamon Gilmore, Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland): Today’s meeting helped to build on 18 months of Presidency preparations in close contact with the Commission. Among the extensive agenda of issues we'll work together on is the crucial, urgent issue of youth unemployment - we spoke about it at length today. We look forward to carrying forward the Commission's Youth Employment Package, while I also welcome their intention to publish shortly a Social Investment Package.
Following their meetings the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and President Barroso joined Vice President Viviane Reding and the Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton in launching the European Year of Citizens 2013 with a dialogue with 200 citizens in Dublin’s City Hall.