Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Question 112: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will give an indication of three key areas that will be focused on during Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8138/12]
Work across all Government Departments is continuing to identify the priorities and objectives of the Irish Presidency of the Council of Ministers in 2013. These will be outlined in detail in the Irish Presidency programme that will be published in December 2012. As with all Presidencies, the Irish Presidency priorities will, to some extent, be influenced by the progress made by the Danish and Cypriot Presidencies in 2012 in advancing issues on the EU agenda. However, the Government has already identified a number of themes that will be of particular importance during the Presidency. In response to the current economic and financial situation that we face, a particular emphasis will be attached to achieving progress on measures to boost Europe's global competitiveness, stimulate sustainable economic growth and above all, to create jobs.
The Government will also seek agreement on any aspects of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), that remain outstanding. The MFF sets out the EU budget from 2014-2020.
Alongside the MFF process, other issues to be addressed are of major importance to Ireland and the future development of the EU including the Common Agriculture Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, and initiatives such as Horizon 2020 (the EU's future framework programme for research and innovation) which will be critical for the EU's economic development. Other important issues areas will include energy, climate change and environmental issues.
The Government will continue to work intensively throughout 2012 to refine Ireland's Presidency priorities across all policy areas. Ministers will consult closely with our Partners and the EU institutions as the programme process continues. The Government will also continue to liaise with stakeholders in Ireland including representatives of civil society to ensure that the programme addresses issues of national importance for Ireland.