Saturday

26th May 2018

Irish EU presidency outlines post-crisis agenda

  • The Irish presidency motto is "stability, jobs and growth" (Photo: Guimo)

The incoming Irish EU presidency says it will focus on jobs and growth in the next six months, echoing claims the sovereign debt part of the euro crisis has ended.

Foreign minister Eamon Gilmore told press in Brussels on Monday (17 December) there is still work to do on the banking union agreed by EU leaders last week as a long-term measure to quell market fears.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said Ireland will help draft plans for a pan-EU deposit guarantee scheme and failed bank wind-up rules as the "key to moving to the next phase - allowing the European Stability Mechanism [the Luxembourg-based bailout fund] to directly recapitalise banks."

But he noted that Ireland's main objectives - and its EU presidency motto - will be "stability, jobs and growth."

Its push to get the European economy back on its feet envisages agreement on the EU budget for 2014 to 2020 "early in the New Year" to enable "fit for purpose" spending on, for instance, aid to rural regions.

Ireland will work to clinch an EU-US free trade deal, which Dublin believes can contribute 2 percent growth to EU GDP.

It will promote a directive on pan-EU recognition of professional qualifications to help job-seekers move around. It will also try to help small businesses get access to credit and to "overhaul" EU data protection rules to make life easier for online companies.

Striking an optimistic note, Gilmore said: "We aim to be the first country to emerge from an EU-IMF [International Monetary Fund] programme."

He added that upcoming elections in Germany and Italy should not hold things back. "I don't expect that elections in Italy will delay the MFF [the multi-annual financial framework, or 2014 to 2020 EU budget]," he said.

His EU affairs minister, Lucinda Creighton, noted: "For the past 18 months, whenever something complex comes on the agenda we hear the refrain: 'No decision can be expected because of elections here or there.' But in fact decision-making has not been put on hold."

The Irish tone echoes recent remarks by some EU leaders.

"That period is over ... We did a lot of good work this year and that allows us to be confident for 2013," French President Francois Hollande said in Brussels last Thursday, referring to sovereign debt fears.

Meanwhile, Ireland outlined more modest priorities for EU foreign policy.

Creighton said it will try to get EU accession talks started with Macedonia and Serbia and to get agreement on signing a pre-accession pact with quasi-state Kosovo.

Gilmore noted he will also look to expand EU humanitarian aid programmes.

He said nothing on two of the biggest crises in the EU neighbourhood - the Arab-Israeli conflict and Syria.

With Israel piling on thousands of new settler homes in Palestine - it announced a further 1,500 homes in East Jerusalem on Monday - Dublin has no plans to push for punitive measures.

An Irish government spokeswoman told EUobserver last month that "Ireland would support a ban on the import of goods from Israeli settlements."

But she noted: "There is no consensus on this issue at EU level and no prospect of reaching agreement on this issue in the near term." She added that under the Lisbon Treaty: "The foreign council agenda is set by the EU [foreign policy chief] Catherine Ashton."

Israeli leader mocks EU 'dismay'

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has mocked EU "dismay" over his plan to split Palestine in three and take away its capital.

Debt relief talks mar Greek bailout exit

While the Greek government has committed to fulfill the last creditors' requirements in the coming month, Europeans and the International Monetary Fund are still far from an agreement on measures to reduce the country's debt in the future.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

EU budget must not fortify Europe at expense of peace

Given the European Commission new budget's heavy focus on migration, border management and security, many are asking whether the proposal will fortify Europe at the expense of its peace commitments.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach