Next Monday, 4 February, the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister), Eamon Gilmore, will chair the General Affairs Council discussion among EU Ministers on the issues to be considered at the European Council of 7-8 February 2013. The Tánaiste will call for EU leaders to agree on the long term EU budget (2014-2020) and a give a clear focus to the growth potential of trade.
Speaking before the Council meeting, the Tánaiste said:
Our Presidency priorities are Stability, Jobs and Growth. I will call for EU leaders to take a big step forward through agreement on the long term EU budget so it can be mobilised to help create the conditions for economic growth.
On 7-8 February, EU leaders will try to reach agreement on a new long term EU budget, the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), for the period 2014-2020. The Tánaiste, both at the General Affairs Council and in a meeting with European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, will call for swift agreement on this budget.
Once agreement is reached on the overall budget package, the Irish Presidency will be responsible for
· securing the agreement of the European Parliament and
· pursuing early agreement on each of the major EU programmes funded from this budget, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries policy, Erasmus for All and Horizon 2020.
Ahead of the General Affairs Council, the Tánaiste will also meet with Members of the European Parliament for an exchange of views on the MFF.
An ambitious trade agenda can lead in the medium term to an overall increase of 2% in growth and the creation of over 2 million jobs across the EU. Tapping into this potential is a priority for the Irish Presidency.
At the General Affairs Council, the Tánaiste will also focus discussion on the potential for trade in goods, services and investment to make a significant contribution to the EU’s growth agenda.
An ambitious trade agenda can lead in the medium term to an overall increase of 2% in growth and the creation of over 2 million jobs across the EU. Tapping into this growth potential is a priority for the Irish Presidency.
The Tánaiste will call for a discussion on the EU’s post-Arab Spring relationship with its Southern Mediterranean neighbours , in light of the important moves towards democracy in the region. The Tánaiste will also highlight the deteriorating situation in Syria.
This will be the first meeting of the General Affairs Council under the Irish Presidency. The Tánaiste will set out Ireland’s ambitious work programme at the beginning of the Council meeting.