The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD, travels to Brussels this afternoon for final stage talks aimed at securing agreement with the European Parliament on the EU’s 7 year €960 billion budget.
The European Council in February agreed an EU budget amounting to €960 billion and focussed on competitiveness, jobs and growth measures. EU member states gave the Irish Presidency a mandate to negotiate on their behalf with the aim of getting the European Parliament’s agreement on the budget.
There have now been five rounds of formal trilogue negotiations led by the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD, in Brussels and Strasbourg and numerous preparatory meetings.
Speaking before leaving for the talks, the Tánaiste said:
“My intention is to reach agreement with the European Parliament on the EU’s budget. I call on the European Parliament to give its agreement so that we can move ahead."
"We cannot afford to delay any longer in reaching agreement. Our citizens need certainty. I am prepared to make every effort tonight to reach an agreement. Our negotiations will require willingness to compromise on all sides."
"But this is what is needed if we are to ensure that new investment can start flowing on 1 January next year.”
The proposed €960 billion EU funding for 2014-2020 includes:
- €6 billion specifically for tackling youth unemployment
- A total of €91 billion for improving European competitiveness
- €70 billion in research and innovation grants for researchers throughout Europe
- €30 billion for improving European transport, energy and digital networks
- €19 billion for the Erasmus Programme to support student exchanges
- €325 billion for building cohesion among Europe’s regions through structural funds
- €373 billion to be invested in Europe’s valuable natural resources, including agriculture and rural development
Ireland has also been intensively leading negotiations with the European Parliament on the nearly 70 EU programmes that make up the EU budget.