Minister outlines Presidency priorities during speech to IIEA, including measures on trade, single market, SMEs and research and development. Potential benefits of over €150billion per annum to EU and US economies from successful conclusion of trade agreement.
The major progress over recent days in advancing an EU-US free trade agreement is very welcome, as part of building growth and creating jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said today in a speech to the Institute for International and European Affairs.
As part of its agenda of stability, jobs and growth, the Irish Presidency had identified making progress on an EU-US trade agreement as a top priority. As part of this drive Minister Bruton, who currently chairs the EU Trade Council, will convene a special Informal meeting of EU Trade Ministers in Dublin in April to hold talks on the issue.
The Minister’s speech comes following the expression of support last Friday from the European Council for such an agreement, the very positive comments by President Obama during his State of the Union speech last night and the publication today of the report on the issue by the joint EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth which could move this ambitious agenda forward.
Successful conclusion of such an agreement could lead to annual benefits of over €150billion to the EU and US economies, and could provide benefits of over $100million per year for Ireland. Making progress on this issue is a top priority of the Irish Presidency, and Minister Bruton will hold an informal meeting of EU Trade Ministers in Dublin in April as part of this effort.
Minister Bruton will chair or co-chair eight formal and informal meetings of the Trade, Competitiveness and Employment and Social Policy Councils during the six months of the Irish Presidency. Today he outlined crucial issues he aims to progress during that time, including:
- A series of trade agreements between the EU and international trading partners – including Canada, India and Japan – which together have the potential to create 2 million jobs in Europe and add 2% to EU GDP. There are currently 26 million people unemployed in the EU
- Measures to further unlock the potential of the Single Market and support SMEs. Abolishing restrictions in the services sector alone could boost EU GDP by 2.6%
- to work with the European Parliament to finalise the multibillion euro R&D programme Horizon 2020. Agreement has already been reached on increasing SME participation from 15% to 20%
- A Programme to provide dedicated financial support for SMEs. SMEs account for more than 98% of enterprises in the EU and employ more than 87 million people
- Measures to deepen the digital single market, which could add 4% to EU GDP
- Implementation of a package of measures to make it easier and cheaper for businesses to register and enforce patents across the EU, and save businesses a total of more than €150million per year
Read the full text of Minister Bruton's speech.