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Tánaiste to chair key Irish Presidency talks on enlargement and future EU Budget

21.04.2013, 17:05 GMT


Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore is travelling to Luxembourg tonight to chair a key General Affairs Council meeting tomorrow, Monday 22 April.

The Tánaiste will aim to build positive momentum behind EU enlargement and on the future of the EU Budget. These are both priorities of the Irish Presidency programme.

On enlargement, the Council on Monday will be briefed on progress in the accession processes of Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and on a mandate for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo.

Speaking before leaving for Luxembourg the Tánaiste said:

"One of my Presidency goals is to see the countries of the Western Balkans move closer to fulfilling their European Union aspirations. The significant positive outcome in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue last Friday will hopefully give new and strong momentum to their progress on their respective European paths. I hope to build on this at tomorrow’s Council."

The Council on Monday also comes at an important time in discussions on the future EU budget for 2014-2020, the multi annual financial framework.  The Irish Presidency has been tasked with securing the European Parliament’s agreement on the MFF. Tomorrow will be the first Ministerial discussion on the MFF since the European Council reached its agreement last February.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore - "One of my Presidency goals is to see the countries of the Western Balkans move closer to fulfilling their European Union aspirations. The significant positive outcome in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue last Friday will hopefully give new and strong momentum to their progress on their respective European paths. I hope to build on this at tomorrow’s Council."

The Tánaiste will update his colleagues on his ongoing contacts with the European Parliament and will call for their support for the Presidency’s negotiating strategy.

The Tánaiste said:

"Reaching agreement on the MFF is a top priority for the remainder of our Presidency of the EU. Now more than ever, the Union needs to show that it can manage its business effectively and that means securing agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework to underpin the Union's programmes, from Cohesion to CAP, from SME support to Research, for the next seven years. I remain confident that we can achieve this ambitious aim with goodwill and cooperation from all sides." 

The Council will also look at the draft agenda for the May European Council as well as hearing a presentation from four member states on an initiative on democracy, fundamental values and rule of law.

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