On 1 January this year, Ireland assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union with a policy programme for our six months in office.
As we approach our Presidency’s half-way point, below is a summary of results so far, and how they make a difference. We have three months of work ahead in continued pursuit of our objectives of stability, jobs and growth.
Read the Presidency policy programme here.
Making a difference...to fixing the banking system
- Agreement reached with European Parliament on the Single Supervisory Mechanism, a key step towards Banking Union and breaking the link between banks and sovereigns.
- Agreement reached with the European Parliament on the Capital Requirements Directive, known as CRD 4. It is aimed at protecting taxpayers by building stronger European banks, while placing limits on bankers’ bonuses.
Making a difference...to how EU countries plan their jobs and growth programmes
- Agreement with the European Parliament on the ‘Two Pack’ measures designed to improve budgetary and economic coordination among eurozone countries.
- First stage of the European Semester economic planning process completed, aimed at reaching EU2020 targets and supporting growth-friendly consolidation and job-friendly growth.
Making a difference...through leading negotiations on the EU’s c. €1 trillion budget
- Presidency is leading on finalising agreement between the Council and the Parliament on the Multiannual Financial Framework(EU budget 2014-2020), following agreement at the European Council in February.
- Intensive work continues in parallel on the legislation enabling the c. €1 trillion in the MFF to be mobilised on time (i.e. CAP/CFP, Cohesion, Horizon 2020, Youth Employment, Erasmus for All etc) in support of growth.
Making a difference...on youth employment
- Policy programme is focused on measures and sectors that will help tackle youth unemployment.
- €6 billion of resources under the 2014-2020 EU Budget are to be placed in support of the EU’s Youth Employment Initiative, including the Youth GuaranteeRecommendation agreed under the Irish Presidency in February.
Making a difference...on new trade for our goods and services
- Ireland is prioritising trade agreements with key EU partners, a series of which could together add over 2% to the EU's GDP growth, or €275 billion. A special EU Trade Ministers’ meeting is being convened by the Presidency in Dublin in the second half of April.
- The EU and the US have agreed to pursue a Trade and Investment Partnership – this could ultimately lead to annual benefits of over €150 billion to the EU and US economies.
- Irish Presidency playing a critical role in the opening EU-US talks by working out the details of the mandate among Member States.
- Also, over the Saint Patrick’s Day period in March, the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) discussed this with President Obama in Washington while the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) did so with Secretary of State John Kerry.
- Official negotiations have also been launched for a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan.
Making a difference...through farming and fisheries reforms
- Agreement reached within Council on key reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy.
- Swift and effective response to the mislabelling issue, as well as agreement secured on discards in European fisheries and an improved pet passports regime.
Making a difference...to innovation
- Single Market / Intellectual Property: signature of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement, a major final step leading to a unitary patent system in the EU and a key element in completing the Single Market.
Making a difference...on energy and the environment
- Energy: Agreement on a proposal for safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities.
- Aviation Emissions – agreement reached regarding greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation sector, with a view to facilitating an eventual global measure in this area.
Making a difference to....health and safety
- Agreement on health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields).
- Agreement on an international treaty on the protection of human health and the environment from exposure to mercury.
Making a difference...in justice and home affairs
- Agreement on an EU-wide Civil Protection Order (improving the protection of victims of domestic violence across Europe).
- Continued progress on key aspects of the data protection proposals.
Making a difference...with the EU’s neighbours and the world
- Development Aid: the EU agreed to resume development aid to Mali, as announced at a meeting of Development Ministers in Dublin chaired by the Presidency. Up to €250 million in EU funding will be made available in 2013.
- EU membership: maintaining momentum for EU enlargement in terms of final steps before Croatia’s expected accession on 1 July and in terms of other candidates and potential candidates.
Read the Presidency midterm score midterm point scorecard (in pdf format).