Irish Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton and Minister for Agriculture Food and Marine Simon Coveney will be in Strasbourg this week representing the Council of the European Union in a range of debates with MEPs, including on the EU’s long-term budget for 2014-2020, management of the European Semester, and the Common Fisheries Policy.
Minister of State Creighton will participate in the keynote debate on preparations for the 7-8 February European Council which will focus on the Multi-annual Financial Framework 2014-2020 (MFF), trade relations with partners such as the US, Canada and Japan, and EU relations with Southern Mediterranean partners in the context of the Arab Spring and the situation in Mali.
The Minister of State will hear the views of MEPs on the MFF and will emphasise the importance of the Council and the Parliament working hand in hand to secure agreement at an early stage. This will ensure the timely adoption of the large number of legislative proposals which implement theUnion’s programmes. The Minister will also represent the Council in a debate on the European Semester, which is the EU’s new system of economic policy coordination between Member States. Managing the semester process is a key task of the Irish Presidency.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney will represent the Council in the debate on the EU Common Fisheries Policy, another priority for the Presidency.
Minister Coveney will emphasise his personal commitment and the Irish Presidency’s determination to reach agreement with the Parliament on the new Common Fisheries Policy in the first half of 2013.
Minister Creighton will also speak in a diverse range of debates on:
- the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES),
- the dialogue for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish issue inTurkey,
- the rule of law and freedom inBulgaria,
- the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,
- the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (on behalf of EU High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton).
Minister Creighton will emphasise the importance of working together to secure early agreement on the EU budget 2014-2020 so that priority legislation linked to the budget can be adopted quickly.
Finally, the Minister of State will brief the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) on the outcome of the 31 January Foreign Affairs Council, also on behalf of EU High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton.
The participation of Minister of State Creighton and Minister Coveney in this month’s plenary marks the continuation of the Irish Presidency’s close cooperation with the European Parliament, following on from January’s successful presentation by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. of the Irish Presidency priorities in Strasbourg, and the presentations by 20 Government ministers to the Parliament’s Committees.