Taoiseach and Tánaiste engage with Commission and Parliament leaders with a view to an agreed Multiannual Financial Framework in the coming months. Youth employment and trade also discussed.
Against the background of Irish Presidency breakthroughs in the previous 24 hours on the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV) and the Youth Guarantee Recommendation, the Irish Government welcomed the Presidents of both the European Commission and the European Parliament to Dublin.
The focus of their meetings was the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF or EU Budget) for 2014-2020, which was agreed within the European Council earlier this month. It now falls to the Irish Presidency to lead negotiations on behalf of the Council with the European Parliament, with a view to agreement in the next few months.
Speaking at a press conference, the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), Enda Kenny TD, noted that today marked the one-third point in the Presidency’s six-month term and said:
"This is truly a team effort and it is full steam ahead for these negotiations. For my part, I will be fully engaged throughout and look forward to us meeting again at the time of the March European Council."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny - "The balance that must be struck is on a budget that fits the times we live in. We want to ensure it is fit for purpose in supporting jobs and growth. We will work hard to get it over the line under our watch."
The Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, who will lead the Council negotiating team as President of the General Affairs Council, said:
"I am under no illusion about the political sensitivity and challenge of the task. We will invest our energy and political capital in this important priority.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore - "The MFF is a major part of the EU’s toolkit to help growth and jobs. I particularly welcome the Youth Guarantee being agreed today in Brussels, and that €6 billion of resources are proposed within the MFF to be put behind it."
Both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste placed emphasis on youth employment as well as trade as a driver of jobs and growth.
The Taoiseach said:
"As part of the overall trade agenda, the Irish Presidency will play a critical role in the opening talks by working out the mandate for an EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership among Member States."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny - "Next month in Washington, we will have an opportunity to discuss this directly with President Obama when in the White House around Saint Patrick’s Day."
The Tánaiste said:
"A package of trade agreements can add 2% to Europe's growth rate. In relation to an EU-US agreement, last night I had the opportunity to discuss this with Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome. He has the same sense of resolve I look forward to working with him and the US administration in the time ahead."
Both paid tribute to the working relationship the Irish Presidency enjoys with both the European Commission and the European Parliament, and looked forward to continued good results during the remaining four months of the Presidency.