The Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD, is in Athens today for the first bilateral visit to Greece since both the Irish and Greek governments took office. The Minister met the Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, as well as the Minister for Economic Development and the Minister for European Affairs.
Minister Creighton took the opportunity to brief Mr. Samaras on Ireland’s EU presidency priorities and progress to date. Prime Minister Samaras and the Minister discussed the next actions required to secure the agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework reached by EU leaders last week, as well as the future economic development of the European Union.
We discussed the painful, albeit necessary, structural reforms underway in both countries and the urgent need for our citizens, and all Europeans, to see economic progress in their own lives.
Speaking in Athens, the Minister said:
“It is a pleasure for me to visit Greece, a country which will hold the Presidency of the European Council in 2014. I had extensive and useful talks with the Prime Minister and key members of his Government, including my counterpart Dimitris Kourkoulas, with whom I have a close working relationship at the General Affairs Council.”
“The Prime Minister and I had a good exchange about the future economic direction of the European Union and I am pleased to say we share many common views. We discussed the painful, albeit necessary, structural reforms underway in both countries and the urgent need for our citizens, and all Europeans, to see economic progress in their own lives.”
“I briefed the Prime Minister and the members of his Government whom I met on Ireland’s economic progress and our presidency priorities. There was particular interest in our plans to exit the EU/IMF programme and in our record of attracting foreign direct investment. In all of the meetings I had today, we focused on the importance of the growth agenda being a central topic at the March European Council meeting.”
“I also had extensive discussions on the EU enlargement agenda, a priority for our Presidency as it will be for the Greek Presidency next year.”
While in Athens the Minister also briefed members of the European Affairs Committee of the Greek Parliament on Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.