Tanaiste will also lead Ministerial talks on tax and energy issues
The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will travel to Brussels tomorrow to chair Ministerial discussions on the EU multi-annual budget. He expects to obtain Member States’ support for the Presidency’s push for progress in negotiations with the European Parliament.
The Tánaiste will also focus on discussions on tackling tax fraud and evasion and the high cost of energy in Europe. This is part of the Irish Presidency’s overall focus on stability, jobs and growth and prepares the ground for the European Council meeting on Wednesday 22 May.
Tax evasion & tax fraud
The Presidency is focussing on taxation as part of a renewed international clamp down on tax evasion and tax fraud.
The Presidency has already secured agreement amongst Finance Ministers to start negotiations with countries including Switzerland and Liechtenstein to identify tax evaders. The Tánaiste will be urging his Ministerial colleagues to step up similar efforts within the EU. The Tánaiste will also propose that the EU take a more leading role globally on tackling tax evasion. The Irish Presidency will also bring forward a comprehensive package to deal with VAT fraud, which costs the EU billions every year.
Reducing energy costs
The second focus will be on the high cost of energy, which is having an impact on households and businesses across Europe. The Tánaiste will lead Ministers in a discussion on measures the EU can take to develop its energy strategy, including, for example, completing the internal EU energy market by 2014, improving energy efficiency and diversifying Europe’s energy supply.
Energy and tax issues will also be the focus of the European Council discussions on 22 May.
EU Budget negotiations
As Chair of the General Affairs Council, the Tánaiste will also update his Ministerial colleagues on the recent progress the Presidency has made in talks on the EU’s €960 billion budget for 2014-2020 (MFF). Formal negotiations have now got underway between the Irish Presidency and the European Parliament on the key issues at stake in the multi annual budget talks. In parallel, the Irish Presidency secured political agreement of Member States for additional funds for the annual budget to meet outstanding payments needs focussed on measures to support growth, jobs and employment especially among young people. The Irish Presidency is keen to advance these MFF negotiations without any further unnecessary delays.
Talks with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein
In the afternoon the Tánaiste will also chair a meeting of the EU-European Economic Area (EEA) Council, which brings together the EU and Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.